This study investigated the effect of a twelve week exercise on gait-speed, balance performance and quality of Life (QoL) of individuals diagnosed of substance abuse disorders. Eighty-seven in-patients (45 experimental [EG] and 42 controls [CG] groups) diagnosed of substance abuse disorder in a tertiary mental health institution in Nigeria participated in this study. The EG participated in a twelve week exercise which include free active exercise, aerobic, bicycle ergometer and tread-mill exercises. Body mass index was calculated from weight/height2 ratio (weight in kg/height in meter2). Balance was assessed using one-leg stand test. Gait-speed was assessed in meter/minutes while QoL was assessed using WHO-BREF. Tests were conducted at baseline, six and twelve weeks. Data was analysed using, independent t-test, Kruskal-Wallis, Analysis of Variance and McNemars test. The mean age of the participants was 31.04±6.30 years. Age had negative influence on gait, balance and QoL. EG were significantly better in gait-speed, balance performance and QoL at 6 and 12 weeks. Gait-speed, balance and QoL of EG were low at baseline and improved significantly (p<0.05) between baseline and 6 weeks and 6 weeks and 12 weeks. It was conclude that balance performance, gait-speed and quality of life of individuals with substance abuse disorder are low. Well structured and meticulously executed exercise programme is effective in reducing physical problems thereby improving functional performance, quality of life and reducing dependency in activities of daily living in individuals with substance abuse disorder.
Key words: Substance abuse disorder, quality of life, gait-speed, balance, mental illness.
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