Published: 24 December, 2019 | Volume 4 - Issue 4 | Pages: 081-093
The present study examined the effect of the European-Based ‘Alive and Kicking’ exercise program on the health-related physical fitness of individuals with (Experimental Group: EG) and without (Control Group: CG) (Intellectual Disability: ID). The Self-Determination Theory: SDT, guided both the 6-month preparatory phase and the 9-month exercise program, which was conducted in five separate European countries (Cyprus, France, Greece, Portugal and Spain). The total sample (n = 200, 54% males and 46% females) comprised of 168 individuals with ID (age: 26.54 years, + 7.78) and 32 individuals without ID (age: 25.81 years, + 8.73) respectively. The statistical analyses revealed that the ID group’s performance (EG) improved significantly in a range of health-related physical fitness variables (sit & reach, pushups, sit ups, long jump, ½ mile walk/ run). In turn, the participants from the CG improved mainly in muscular endurance (sit ups and pushups). The results are discussed in accordance with SDT and the dairies kept from the staff involved (coaches and psychologists) during the 9–month intervention. The present findings, although subjective to certain limitations, are encouraging, given the large-scale, real-world nature of the research design, and provide evidence supporting the integration of theoretical strategies enhancing motivation into traditional coaching programs for individuals with ID.