Topic: Keys to success – exercise, health, and wellness during COVID

Day: Monday 12 October

Time:  3:30pm-4:00pm AEDT


COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone around the world, people of all ages are requested to stay at home. A key risk to health during isolation is decreased activity level, and the associated decline of lean muscle mass and function. Active older people who become sedentary will lose 25 percent of their strength in a few weeks. Reducing this loss of muscle mass is critical as it is likely to impact general health and activity levels and therefore quality of life.
Health recommendations for older adults include advice for both exercise and nutrition as it is the combination of strength training and protein intake that can help us to stay healthy – muscles can act as an immune organs by producing acute phase protective proteins, therefore, regular strength training can be crucial for health and wellbeing.
It is therefore important to continue exercising at home to maintain the muscle strength gained. The largest health benefits of strength training are seen with progressive resistance training in an exercise facility, thus, it is important to plan ahead to gain the knowledge and skills required to create exercise programs that compensate for the lower activity levels during isolation.
To support people to stay healthy during isolation, we wanted to share the best knowledge possible to everyone; providers, clinicians and residents. A team of specialists was contacted, all leaders in their field with decades of research, clinical and practical knowledge, to share their knowledge and to outline the keys to success. The use of technology platforms to host webinars allowed this knowledge share while still in isolation and enabled large and global participation. In May 2020 the initial webinar focused on isolation and the topics included muscle physiology, nutrition, home exercises and telehealth possibilities. The second webinar in September focused on the return to normality with detailed knowledge on exercise prescription and program innovation and development in both residential and community health.
Collaboration and knowledge share are the keys to success. By sharing information not just in our peer groups, but with a wider audience, we can empower everyone – program managers, clinicians and individuals who wish to take responsibility of their own health. The evidence is strong, the recommendations are clear. We need to share the knowledge, listen and react to allow everyone to live their best and longest life.
This presentation summarises the key messages for exercise, health and wellness shared during these webinars.





Tuire Karaharju-Huisman graduated as a physiotherapist in Finland. After two years of clinical work in private practice she moved to Sweden to pursue her research ambition and conduct Biomechanical research at Karolinska Hospital investigating walking and balance in children with neurological defects. After moving to Melbourne her research focus changed to falls prevention in older people with her doctoral dissertation focusing on the risk of slipping during level walking. In Australia Tuire also gained her accreditation as an Exercise Physiologist. After 11 years as an academic lecturer of biomechanics and exercise physiology, Tuire joined HUR Australia in 2015. With her experience of clinical rehabilitation and biomechanics, she brings expertise in the design and implementation of best practice exercise solutions in rehabilitation and active ageing. Tuire has an active role in HUR education for both staff and users of HUR gyms and is the main producer of HUR Newsletters and Webinars.