Background: Enhanced methods of evaluation are necessary to identify community-based exercise interventions that promote physical activity and improve health and participation for individuals with disabilities. The heterogeneity of the populations served, interventions implemented, and outcome measures used remains a barrier to effectively evaluate programs and generate evidence to inform best practice. Objective: To explore goals and benefits of community-based exercise for individuals with disabilities and determine barriers and facilitators to evaluation in a community setting. Methods: We conducted semi-structured interviews with exercise participants and staff of a community-based exercise program for individuals with disabilities. We then coded responses to interview questions for themes using thematic analysis or deductive content analysis, with codes linked to categories within the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF). Results: Identified goals and benefits spanned the ICF domains of Body Functions and Activities and Participation. Commonly cited goals and benefits included improving strength and endurance, general health, self-efficacy, community participation, and the importance of returning to exercise. Barriers and facilitators to evaluation identified by staff included maintaining a balance between evaluation and services, negative attitudes toward evaluation, access to data, and consistency with scheduling. Conclusions: These results can be used to enhance evaluation within community-based exercise programs for individuals with disabilities, which may improve both the quality and impact of these programs.
- Public health