Over the past year, we've been running regular gym sessions for Share students as part of Share’s Live Well, Feel Great project to help improve their fitness, coordination, strength and balance.
Each week a small group of students travel to Randall Close (run by Leonard Cheshire Disability) to take part in a tailored gym session.
The sessions, which are run in partnership with the Wandsworth Learning Disability Healthcare Team (WLDHT), include tailored exercises for each individual student to help them work towards their healthy living goals. Each student attends for a minimum of six sessions, and is assessed at the beginning and end of this six-week programme to track change.
Students set their own healthy living goals at the start of the programme; they then work with Share's Healthy Living Coordinator to reach those goals. As a result of the project, 87% of students who took part saw an improvement in their weight, body mass index (BMI) and functional muscle strength. In addition, half of those who took part were able to improve their cardiorespiratory function, endurance and flexibility.
In addition to helping our students' fitness, one of the key priorities of the project is to work with each student, and their parents and carers to find additional exercise groups or community gyms that they could attend independently in their free time. This helps to ensure our students' achievements are sustainable and that they are able to continue incorporating exercise into their everyday life. For example, we've been encouraging our students to get off the bus early and walk more - just one practical way that we've been working with students to improve their fitness and stamina.
Our students have really enjoyed the group and commented:
"Very good, challenging in a good way. Paul is very good. It made me feel happy and excited for the next session. It made me feel great. I did the bike and the treadmill and I think it was a great opportunity. I feel happy coming here and everyone is excited." Angela
"Good, I enjoyed it, I liked the treadmill and the bike." Joyce
"It’s nice, it made me feel happy, it was good. The weights are my favourite." Mansoor
“I love this, I love coming to the gym. It’s Brilliant, I want to keep coming. The bikes brilliant, I could take it home with me!” Edmond
“They are really good, I feel fitter. The gym sessions are all good, the cycle is good and the treadmill and it works well with my circulation.” Daniel
“It was good, they’ve got a lot of things, my favourite was weights.” Sophie