Using a mobile health aerobic exercise program to improve psychological distress in healthcare professionals: A randomised controlled trial

Healthcare professionals account for the largest sector of government employees in Canada and report more than twice as much high work stress and greater depression than the average employed Canadian. Due to the current pandemic, healthcare professionals are now reporting an increase in their depression, anxiety, and distress linked to their risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, quarantine and isolation, and being separated from their families. The stress faced by healthcare professionals should be cause for concern among our public health organizations, as stress has serious health consequences for healthcare workers, including medical errors, depression, burnout, absenteeism, and premature mortality. I am proposing to conduct a randomised trial of an aerobic exercise mobile app intervention (yoga and whole body weight-based training) that requires little physical space or equipment and is easily completed at home or in a small office, to improve healthcare professionals’ psychological distress and wellbeing. This work is expected to provide a feasible, engaging, and accessible solution to implement in every medical setting that will improve work stress, health, and quality of life among Canadian healthcare professionals.