A co-designed mixed methods study on community-based gym exercise for non-ambulant adults with childhood onset disability

Karen McConnell, Claire Mc Feeters, Joanne Marley, Alix Crawford, Katy Pedlow

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Abstract

Purpose
Explore community-based gym exercise for non-ambulant adults with childhood-onset disability.

Materials and methods
Non-ambulant adults with childhood-onset disability participated in four, weekly gym sessions co-facilitated by physiotherapists and exercise professionals. Practicalities of participating in the sessions were recorded via uptake and attrition, weekly surveys, and focus groups. Perspectives of those who designed/delivered the study were gathered via weekly debrief meetings. Quantitative data were analysed descriptively, qualitative data were analysed thematically.
Results
Ten non-ambulant adults with childhood-onset disability participated; 70% completed all exercise sessions. Focus groups identified three themes. “I wouldn’t be able to exercise…there’s no option for a community-based setting” described the lack of opportunities for exercise in gyms. “You don’t realise the benefit of coming here” highlighted benefits of exercise. “We can do better” had two sub-themes: problem solving and ingredients for community-based gym exercise. Weekly feedback and debrief meetings identified practicalities related to equipment, exercises, and collaborative working between facilitators.

Conclusions
Whilst there is an interest in community-based gym exercise for non-ambulant adults with childhood-onset disability, there remains a lack of inclusive gyms. Co-design of inclusive gym guidelines and condition-specific physical activity referral scheme may enhance opportunities for participation in gym exercise for adults with childhood-onset disability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Volume46
Issue number10
Early online date3 May 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished online - 3 May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Keywords

  • adults
  • childhood onset disability
  • Exercise
  • gym
  • participation

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