Regular involvement in physical activity is associated with health benefits, but little is known about supporting and encouraging regular exercise for people with Huntington's Disease (HD). This study aimed to explore experiences and perspectives of people with HD attending a 12-week supported exercise programme delivered in a gym environment 1/week and a home walking programme 2/week.
Methods Semi-structured interviews conducted (n=9) on completion of the exercise programme focused on the participants' programme experience. These included areas which explored the relationship between the exercise programme and their condition. Iterative interviewing allowed flexibility to observe new themes. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and transcripts were examined to identify themes.
Results Participants reported no adverse exercise effects and perceived various physical and psychological benefits both in terms of their HD and general well being. Participation was enhanced by family support and the presence of an instructor which participants perceived as facilitators of motivation and confidence. However, there were differing perceptions of the gym environment. A key theme of the home programme was its ability to be incorporated into the daily routine.
Discussion The exercise programme was positively received and resulted in perceived benefits in physical and psychological function and a good level of adherence. Support, familial or professional, played an important role. The efficacy of a full, part or unsupervised exercise programme remains to be explored.
- Huntington's disease