DOSportUK set about using the medium of exercise and physical activity in a social, enjoyable environment to encourage people with a learning disability to get fit, lead healthier lifestyles and improve social wellbeing. We based this on our own anecdotal prior knowledge that people with a learning disability who do not attend a day service are often left without anything to do in the day, often leading to detriments to their physical and psychological wellbeing.
There were six participants who started 10-week programme at Glossop Leisure Centre. Each week we met the group in the multipurpose room of Glossop Leisure Centre. We spent the first hour reviewing our food and exercise diaries with the whole group and individually. Some members of the project needed more individual assistance with the diaries than others and we often shared examples within the group and had a frank and open discussion about what we eat/drink and how much exercise we do each week.
The second hour was gym based. We made our way up the stairs to the gym area where the members work around their different tasks in pairs. Each pair undertake the following exercises each week:
- Treadmill (10 mins)
- Rowing Machine (10 mins)
- Weights Machines (Specific Exercises)
Each week the distances for the treadmill and rowing machine are recorded this helped us set goals each week for the group and gives us a true indication of each person’s progress over the 10 weeks. We also recorded the weights and reps completed by the members to again set goals and mark progress. Over the 10-week period it became clear that all members of the group were recording higher scores on each piece of equipment in comparison to the start of the project.
Over the ten week project we have picked four different topics to discuss with the group. This was discussed whilst the group enjoyed a selection of fruit, veg, and healthy snacks. The topics looked at over the 10 week project are as follows:
1. Fruit and Veg/Healthy eating Choices
3. Mental Health/Speaking out
4. Goal Setting
We did not complete a new topic each week. As we took the first 2 weeks to (a) introduce and talk about the whole project and (2) introduce the food/exercise diaries and go through these.
The participants also said the 10-week programme raised their awareness to mental health and said they were happier to talk or ask for help surrounding it.
Some of the participants feedback was;
‘I like getting out of bed and having something to do!’
‘I enjoyed trying new fruit and veg’
‘I liked the treadmill as it keeps me active.’
It was great to work on a new project and look into other ways to keep those with learning disabilities fit and healthy.
We considered the project a success and are hoping to host this again. Thank you to Glossop Leisure Centre for supporting us so well, with their expertise but also positive, welcoming attitude.
If you would like to try a fit and fun project, contact Jacob today at firstname.lastname@example.org