Wonders of a Workout

Back to blog2 years ago by Jodie
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woman with disability using sit down bike with trainer standing beside her
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Regardless of ability, fitness and exercise are important to maintain good health.

But, for people with a disability, regular exercise can be difficult because of the lack of accessible gyms with staff who understand the needs of someone with a disability.

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Cerebral Palsy Alliance has an accessible gym available for people with disabilities located at its sites in Allambie Heights, Prairiewood and Canberra.

Each gym is equipped with a range of state-of-the-art customised equipment that can be easily used by people with disability. The equipment is also suitable for people who need to remain in their wheelchairs during their exercise session, and still allows them to achieve their strength and fitness goals.

Exercise physiologist Teigan Butchers has been involved with Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s exercise program at our Allambie site for the past 5 years. She has also been involved in establishing a range of fitness programs in the Hunter region in partnership with community gyms such as Anytime Fitness, and will soon be co-ordinating a series of Come and Try days at our new ACT gym located in Scullin.

Teigan says research shows physical activity can have a huge impact on the capacity of person with a disability to maintain their independence; and by improving a person’s physical strength and wellbeing, exercise can also help reduce hospital admissions, and can increase their healthy lifespan.

“Exercise can help people with cerebral palsy greatly improve their strength, stability and endurance. It can also help prevent health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle such as hypertension and diabetes.”

Here we talk to some of our clients who are reaping the rewards of regular exercise.


Dean’s life has literally turned around since he started regularly exercising. Dean is 46 years old and has been attending the gym every week for the past 3 years. Being able to use equipment specially made for people with limited movement is not only good for Dean’s physical wellbeing. It’s also good for his emotional health because it helps him maintain his independence which means he can actively participate in his community.

His mother, Trina says Dean has become a ‘changed man’ since he started doing regular exercise.

“Before Dean started using the gym, his physical heath wasn’t very good and he was quite introverted. But now, he’s more outgoing and happier because he feels physically better and gets to regularly see his friends.”


With rigorous rehabilitation and a regular fitness program created by Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s exercise physiologists. Leigh Lockery has almost totally regained his independence and physical strength after undergoing spinal surgery four years ago.

Using a tailored program that allows him to do the exercises while in his wheelchair, Leigh has been able to do exercises to help improve his stability and core muscle strength.

‘One of Leigh’s goals was to be more independent with his personal care. We created a program that would focus on improving his core and leg strength so he could move more easily from his wheelchair to a standing position, making his standing transfers out of his wheelchair easier’ said Exercise Physiologist Lauren Hansen.

Under the supervision of Lauren and a personal trainer Leigh currently works out twice a week at a maintenance group session.

The sessions are held at our Allambie Heights site which has an accessible gym staffed by specialists experienced in creating fitness programs for people of all ages with a disability.

Joining Leigh in the maintenance group are 5 other adults aged over 50 years who have started using exercise to help minimise the physical impact of cerebral palsy as they age.

Today, Leigh is strong and fit and can move around with greater independence and less pain.

Ange McReynolds – 34-years-old, has dystonic cerebral palsy, GMFCS level V (most impacted level)

‘I have been coming to the fully equipped gym at Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s Allambie Heights centre for more than five years, under the supervision and training of Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s Exercise Physiologists.

My time in the gym not only helps me physically, but I really enjoy it. We have lots of fun and really encourage each other achieve new goals. It is my favourite part of the week.

My workout program has been specially designed to assist me at home, and also in my sport of boccia which I have represented Australia in at numerous international competitions. Since working on my strength in the gym, I have learned how to lean forward by myself which means I can help my care staff. I have also learned how to roll over in bed, which might seem a small milestone to some, but it has made a big difference to me.

I know my I can manage my health through my exercise program. I know my fitness and my health have improved because I used to get quite sick and no longer get recurring chest infections.

Everyone says that I am really healthy and fit and I feel confident about myself. The Exercise Physiology program has changed my life, and that of many of my friends who also use the gym.’

To find out more about our exercise programs, email Teigan today or visit our website.