Motivational Tools for Exercise
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Motivational Tools for Exercise

By Shannon Selle, B.A.

As part of our rehabilitation program at Purity Dialysis Centers, we focus on ways to motivate patients (and staff) to exercise. All in-unit exercises are medically approved by a physician. Here are two examples of projects designed to motivate people to exercise.

In the lobby of each of our units, we posted a chart, listing names of patient and staff participants in our exercise program. Each time a participant exercises at least 30 minutes in one day, the person is eligible to place a sticker next to his/her name on the chart for that day. The goal of each participant is to earn at least 15 stickers a month for the chart. If this goal is reached, the participant’s name is added to our Monthly Achievers poster. Also, the name is entered into a drawing, held at the end of the year, for a free trip—one for patients and one for staff. The more months the participant exercises a minimum of 15 times (for at least half an hour), the more times the name is entered into the drawing.

The trip destinations vary from year to year. We approach regional vacation areas and request that they partially fund the trip, and Purity Dialysis Center funds the other part. The added incentive of a mini-vacation has tremendously increased the participation level. We’ve also started to recognize exercisers in our monthly patient newsletter. We choose an Exercise Patient of the Month, based upon commitment to regular exercise and participation in our monthly exercise challenges. The patient’s photo accompanies a brief article on his/her exercise regimen, which highlights how exercise has influenced the patient’s life and dialysis treatment. Other patients can read about their peers’ accomplishments/positive results and learn the benefits of exercise.
In October of 1999, 33% of patients and 40% of staff completed 15 sessions for the month, and many more attempted to reach that goal.

Physical improvements that have been observed in some patients who regularly exercise include:

  • Increased upper body strength, resulting in better ability to assist with transfers
  • Increased lower body strength, improving mobility and decreasing the need for walking assistance (e.g., cane, walker, staff assistance)
  • Increased functioning ability and more activity outside the center (e.g., doing more ADLs independently)
  • Improved mental attitude and outlook

Name: Shannon Selle, B.A.
Title: Health & Fitness Director
Organization: Purity Dialysis Centers
Waukesha, WI
Date: December 1999