Group exercise DVD helps to ease isolation during lockdown

The Keep Fit Association (KFA), one of the Founder Members of EMD UK, has been supported by EMD UK to develop, produce and distribute a group exercise DVD for use by older people who are isolated during lockdown.

The DVDs are aimed primarily at people who are unable to access regular classes now or after lockdown eases.  They may have a continued need to shield, live with a long-term health condition or are prevented from attending classes because of high levels of anxiety.  By producing a DVD, KFA felt they would be able to reach the target groups who were unable to access social media or online platforms, due to not having the IT technology or being unable/unwilling to access technology. The proposition also reaches older individuals from lower economic social groups who may not be able to afford the equipment to access online platforms.

As well as giving full access to those with no current opportunity to attend exercises classes, the DVD provides developments to gradually improve fitness and gives them the confidence of a familiar brand to link to, as and when they return to traditional group exercise.

The project was made possible by receiving funding of £20,000 from Sport England’s Tackling Inequalities Fund, allocated from the £20m which had been assigned to the Fund by the National Lottery.  The objectives of the Fund are to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on activity levels in under-represented groups, ensuring that the physical activity participation inequality gap does not widen during this period in targeted communities.

A survey commissioned by Sport England found that at the beginning of lockdown 32% of all adults were doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity on 5 or more days per week.  Differences of activity levels were found among different demographic groups with September activity levels for those with a disability or long-term illness at 23% compared with 31% of people without.

The KFA are rightly proud that the project came in on budget, despite a tight timeline.  The project team and the filming contractor found innovative ways to meet the challenges caused by limitations while filming, resulting in a user-friendly, interesting and purposeful DVD.

All project management was administered by the KFA.  A small project team completed content development and design, and sourced teacher and models for filming.

Following expert production of the video and post production edit, third parties were contracted to manufacture and distributethe DVDs nationwide, via KFA as a membership organisation, alongside extending distribution to identified individuals and community organisations.

The Keep Fit Association is pleased to report that their overall targets have been achieved.

  • 90% of evaluation survey respondents stating they have an enhanced awareness of the need to move and exercise
  • 69% of respondents state their activity levels have increased (they will continue to review this figure over the longer term)
  • 73% would not have accessed the product online, demonstrating that the funding has added significant value to that cohort retaining access to some form of activity whilst physical classes are not possible.
  • KFA planned to produce 2,500 DVDs for nationwide distribution, but efficiencies meant this could be increased to 3,000 units.
  • From the 2,500 distributed to date, only 21 were returned, giving an impressive retention rate of 99.16%. Returns were mainly due to not having the equipment to use the DVD.
  • There are 500 DVDs left to distribute and the Keep Fit Association have already had requests for a further 150

Among the many positive comments the Keep Fit Association has received about the DVD, one recipient was particularly delighted with the DVD “I would like everyone to know how much I appreciate the DVD the KFA sent me. It’s excellent!! I didn’t realise how much I missed the company of my Keep Fit Association class and how stiff I had become in lockdown. I have not got a computer, or access to any, so I felt quite isolated, but having played the DVD several times I am getting some of my mobility back. I will watch it most days and am so grateful to have it”.

Lynne Dowdican, Keep Fit Association Chair sums up the project and its benefits for us –

“Receiving the Tackling Inequalities Fund was amazing news. We recognise how important it is to keep everyone active, especially now. We really wanted to reach out to those people who cannot access traditional classes or are isolated because they can’t get online. Our DVD, ‘Movement Made Easy’, tackles that inequality. It offers older adults and those who may have long term health conditions a great option to keep active in their own homes, until such time as they can get back to traditional classes. We have received such terrific feedback for those who have received the DVD. Not only, is it keeping them active but it has been great help for their wellbeing as well. “

Following the success of this project, the KFA are keen to explore further opportunities, and although online options are available, the DVD, whilst more complex and challenging to produce than an online offering, proved to be most effective for this target group.