What is the effectiveness of exercise programs on functional outcomes of people with disabilities?
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Objective: The objective of this critically appraised topic (CAT) was to evaluate different exercise interventions for individuals with disabilities and how they impact functional outcomes. Background: An estimated 61 million people, or approximately 1 in 4 adults in the United States, have at least one disability. In this population deficits in strength and coordination can be impaired influencing one to function in their daily lives. Methods: This CAT consisted of three IB articles and four IIA articles were examined as they met the inclusion criteria. Inclusion criteria consisted of level I and II studies within the past 10 years, exercise programs addressing functional outcomes, and the population of individuals with a disability. There were a variety of exercise interventions reviewed including Nordic walking, interval training, progressive resistive exercises, balance training, tai chi, and gymnastics. Exclusion criteria included level III-V studies, qualitative methods, articles older than 10 years, and those not containing all three concepts of our focus question. Results: Research provides evidence that occupational programs based on exercise interventions provide maximal results of improved functional outcomes. Exercise programs show positive evidence to increase aerobic capacity, gait performance, balance, and strength. These physiological improvements translate into increased functional performance in the workplace, community, and client’s daily routines. Evidence shows improvements in functional performance in both individual and group settings.
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