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Human Development Institute

University Center for
Excellence in Disabilities

Athletic man in a wheelchair lifting weights.

Project CHEER offers Adaptive Exercise Videos to Improve Health for Everyone!

Published: September 4, 2018

by Danielle Augustin

Individuals with disabilities experience many barriers that prevent them from living the healthiest lifestyle possible. Ability to participate in regular physical activity is a common barrier that individuals with disabilities face due to lack of guidance and inaccessible equipment. Inability to engage in regular physical activity puts individuals at a higher risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and stroke. One of HDI’s grant funded efforts, Project CHEER, has made it one of their missions to eliminate as many barriers to physical activity as possible for all individuals. Throughout the past year, Project CHEER has been working to create a series of adaptive exercise videos which provide instruction on physical activity that everyone, regardless of knowledge or ability level, can participate in.

Project CHEER consulted local Exercise Physiologist and University of Kentucky Professor, Dr. Mark Abel, to help create the inclusive exercises and step by step instructions.

Self-advocates from all across the state of Kentucky participated in and helped demonstrate the exercises for these videos. These videos showcase a wide range of exercises that work multiple muscle groups in the body and which can all be modified in several ways to accommodate all experience levels. Many exercises in this series can also be done with common household items, such as a gallon of milk or soup cans, making them perfect for at home workouts.

Several of the self-advocates involved in the video-making found participating in the exercises to be extremely fun and beneficial. One-self advocate Morgan Turner stated, “It was helpful to me because I don’t go to the gym a whole lot, but now I have a couple of fun exercises I can do at home or outside.” Additionally, another self-advocate involved, Heidi Mckenzie, appreciated the versatile equipment that could be used for the exercises stating, “Finding household items to use so you can do your exercises is so helpful and the adaptive exercises are things I can easily do to stay in shape and burn calories so it’s a win win situation!”

The videos can be found on Project CHEER’s website at https://www.wellness4ky.org/resources/adaptive-resources/ or on the HDI Health and Wellness YouTube channel.