A Qualitative Study of Fitness Instructors' Experiences Leading an Exercise Program for Children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
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Children with arthritis face challenges when they try to increase their physical activity. The study's objective was to identify elements of a successful community-based exercise program for children with arthritis by investigating the perspectives of fitness instructors who led the program. This qualitative study used a phenomenological approach. Four fitness instructors participated in individual interviews. Themes were developed through inductive analytic methods. Three main themes were identified: (a) children with arthritis require encouragement and guidance throughout the program from fitness instructors who understand their arthritis, and support from parents and peers; (b) children need help to overcome their negative perceptions about exercise; and (c) exercise program participation can launch the adoption of a more active lifestyle. Pediatric physiotherapists can encourage the establishment of successful exercise programs for children with arthritis in nonmedical or community environments through the formation of supportive, education-based partnerships with community-based fitness instructors.
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