Healthcare workers’ perceptions of physical activity programmes for adults with intellectual impairments

  • Ayesha Bhyat
  • Nina de Villiers
  • Barry S. Andrews


Persons living with intellectual impairments tend to have sedentary lifestyles and are not given the opportunity to participate in active leisure pursuits and sports that suit their needs. This is mainly because the caregivers do not know how to handle these individuals, and give them little or no opportunity to engage in physical exercise and sport with others, and enjoy the social aspects of these activities. The purpose of this study was to determine whether physical activity has a positive effect on adults with intellectual impairment(s), through the perspective of a caregiver. The study explored whether lifestyle and health improved through physical activity. Using qualitative research methods, four caregivers were interviewed using semi-structured interviews in order to gain an insight into their perceptions of the efficacy and perceived effects of physical activity in individuals with intellectual impairments. The participants were purposely selected, and data was collected through in-depth interviews and analysed through exploratory analysis and grouped into themes. Trustworthiness and anonymity were ensured by doing member checks, debriefing and peer reviews. The key finding in this research was the reported lifestyle and health benefits from caregivers for
intellectually impaired individuals after participating in regular physical activity or receiving
physical stimulation. The reported effects on mood, energy levels and concentration were additional themes explored.


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