Get in Motion helps people with physical challenges

Get moving with UBCO

Staying active during COVID-19 isolation can be a struggle, and that struggle is even more so for people with disabilities.

UBC Okanagan’s Kathleen Martin Ginis is a professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences and director of the UBC Faculty of Medicine Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management. She leads a group that wants to help people with challenges get moving.

Martin Ginis is also director of the Canadian Disability Participation Project — a group that has revived a service called Get in Motion to support people with disabilities with regular physical activity.

Get in Motion was a phone-in coaching service led by Martin Ginis’s lab, but was put on hold a few years ago.

But with people isolating, there is a push from public health authorities to get a daily dose of physical activity. However, Martin Ginis and her colleagues, Amy Latimer-Cheung and Jennifer Tomasone, from Queen’s University, say Canadians with disabilities have fewer options than others to get exercise.

“People with a disability are at increased risk for social isolation under ‘usual’ circumstances, but especially so during the COVID outbreak,” says Martin Ginis. “They also face unique barriers and challenges to physical activity. With the closure of adapted physical activity and recreation programs, we are very concerned about the health and well-being of Canadians with disabilities. We are offering the Get in Motion service as a way to manage some of the psychosocial and physical health risks of being inactive at home.”

Adapted sport and exercise programs were closed across the country because of COVID-19.

Based virtually out of Latimer-Cheung and Tomasone’s lab at Queen’s, Get in Motion is available for all Canadians with physical challenges, as well as for Special Olympics athletes. Participants can connect with a volunteer physical activity coach via phone or online conferencing. The volunteer then guides that person through an at-home physical activity program.

The CDPP is based out of UBC Okanagan, and Martin Ginis has several students actively counselling participants.

The program has documented data about the benefits of sport and exercise participation for Canadians with disabilities, including improved health, well-being and overall life satisfaction.

“Our research has shown that a sense of belonging is key to people with disabilities experiencing ‘full and effective participation’ in sport and exercise,” says Martin Ginis. “With Get in Motion, we are striving to provide that sense of belonging through phone calls with trained volunteers who have experience with adapted sport and exercise. Because the belongingness piece is removed if you are doing this all alone.”

For more information about Get in Motion or to enrol, click here.

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