Abstract

Purpose 

The aim of this study was to explore why people with Parkinson’s disease maintained attendance at a community group exercise program.

Design 

Qualitative design was used for this study.

Methods 

A purposive sample was used to recruit participants. Interviews with individual and focus groups collected narrative data that were interpreted using content analysis.

Findings 

Eighteen participants enrolled in the study. Four themes emerged: (1) changing and challenging workout; (2) gaining strength, inspiration, and knowledge and doing it among friends; (3) professionals, not amateurs; and (4) holistic lasting benefit.

Conclusions 

For the participants in this study, exercising in a group among peers in an enjoyable, varied, and challenging program that was structured, socially supportive, and supervised provided incentive for maintaining attendance.

Clinical Relevance 

Exercise is a life-long recommendation for everyone, including people with Parkinson’s diseasefor whom maintaining attendance is more challenging. The words of these participants encourage healthcare providers to consider the relevance of socialization, supervision, and structure when developing exercise programs for this population.

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