Survey of fitness facilities for individuals post-stroke in the Greater Toronto Area
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In light of the demonstrated importance of fitness programs after stroke, the current study set out to determine the availability and characteristics of fitness programs for individuals after stroke in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). A questionnaire was distributed to 784 fitness programs in the GTA requesting information on the facility, program characteristics, and barriers to and willingness in offering specific programs for individuals post stroke. Of the 213 respondents, 146 (69%) reported that individuals with a chronic disability participated in their activities, 39 (18%) did not allow individuals with disabilities to participate, and 28 (13%) were unaware if individuals with disabilities accessed their facilities. Sixty-two facilities (29%) offered specific fitness programs for individuals with a chronic disability including 26 (12%) that offered exercise programs for people who have had a stroke. The study identified that a small percentage of fitness programs surveyed in GTA have fitness programs for individuals post-stroke. Since the occurrence of stroke is expected to increase as the population ages, the need for community fitness programs for individuals post-stroke will continue to rise. Many facilities expressed interest in offering specific fitness programs for individuals post-stroke; therefore, barriers must be addressed to facilitate the development of these programs.
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