Following an invitation from Tim Webster a few months ago, WRIGHT Foundation CIC is delivering two ‘Exercise as Medicine’ courses in New Zealand (Auckland and Christchurch) in March 2019.
Tim and his wife Kris Tynan built the Bodylife Conference and magazine in the UK twenty years ago and, having moved to New Zealand (a.k.a. Godzone) in 2004, they now specialise in working with people living with long-term conditions, under the Exercise as Medicine NZ brand.
Back in the UK last year to take the WRIGHT Foundation CIC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase IV course, Tim approached WRIGHT Foundation to gauge interest in bringing our expertise to New Zealand.
“This was the first WRIGHT Foundation course I had taken, and I have to say I was seriously impressed. Good content, expertly delivered,” he says.
“The field of exercise as medicine is beginning to open up in New Zealand and this presents exercise professionals there with a golden opportunity to step up and take their place in the healthcare continuum. In order for that to happen, we need to upskill ourselves, and that’s what this course is all about,” he adds.
New Zealand may be a small country – 4.5 million people in a land mass slightly bigger than the UK- but Kiwis tend to punch above their weight when it comes to sport, and the health and fitness industry is no exception. According to Tim, New Zealand’s exercise professionals are “right up there” in terms of their skills and knowledge.
So, what can the WRIGHT Foundation’s Principal Lecturer, Gavin Loze, expect when he arrives in New Zealand?
“Hopefully Gavin will have time to experience some of New Zealand’s signature features – great coffee, world class wine, running rugby and stunning scenery while he’s here,” says Tim, “And in between he’ll find a group of eager exercise professionals who are keen to learn.”
Lorraine Nicholson, Training Director at WRIGHT Foundation CIC, sees this as a very exiting development. “We are exporting our expertise to training exercise professionals all over the world. We very much look forward to working with Tim Webster. The course is based on our very popular and highly-recognised Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral course, and adapted for New Zealand’s legislation and regulation. It is also recognised by REPs NZ and will earn students 20 CPD points.”
The courses, titled “Exercise as Medicine” are taking place on 04-08 March 2019 in Auckland and 11-15 March 2019 in Christchurch .
For more information on this course, and the training provided by WRIGHT Foundation CIC to exercise, fitness and health professionals at Level 3 and Level 4, please contact Lorraine Nicholson on 01307 469055.
Musculoskeletal conditions encompass different types of arthritis, lower back pain, osteoporosis, gout, etc. They are the most common reason for people living with disability in the UK.
According to Versus Arthritis, These conditions affect the quality of life and work of an estimated 17.8 million people in the UK, which is well over a quarter of the population. There are a number of associated issues linked to the conditions including lack of physical activity, obesity and multimorbidity.
Musculoskeletal conditions also greatly impact on health and care services and the general economy.
Saints Foundation Pathway to Health for Arthritis
Saints Foundation, an independent charity working in partnership with Southampton Football Club, aims to fulfil and change the lives of those at risk across Southampton and surrounding areas. One of their programmes tackles health and wellbeing. Part of this is Pathway to Health.
Jessica Hulbert, Pathway to Health Project Officer for Saints Foundation, is well versed in the issues facing elderly people, researching dance for the elderly as a subject of her University dissertation, working after graduation as a Therapy Technician on the older persons ward at Southampton General Hospital. Then her work focussed more on falls prevention at Hampshire Council Council. She always has had an interest in Arthritis. She explains “Pathway to Health was initially established to help people aged over 50 with the prevention of falls, upskilling community instructors. We quickly realised that there was nothing in place to tackle arthritis. The thing is arthritis also affects younger people not just the elderly.”
The severity of the problem in Southampton is on par with the national estimate with 30.2% of the population living with some form of arthritis according to the MSK Calculator online tool (extract below).
Saints Foundation Parthway to Health successfully applied for funding with NHS Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to set up Pathway to Health Arthritis project, with Escape Pain training included. This will upskill Saints Foundation health and wellbeing staff and local self-employed exercise professionals working in the community, already delivering a variety of exercise classes.
Jessica Hulbert continues: “With the Pathways to Health Falls programme, we are already linked for online referrals with 10 GP surgeries. We are confident these surgeries will also participate to recommend patients into Pathway to Health Arthritis. Currently we are in conversation with the Southampton CCG Musculoskeletal Service who works with individuals diagnosed with Arthritis, but this is a physiotherapy intervention that does have an end to it. The Musculoskeletal Department will then signpost their patients on to the Escape Pain programme initially where they will receive a 6-week intervention that educates them in exercise and pain management education for Arthritis.”
For Jessica, it is important that after these 6 weeks, there is a follow up with patients with trained and qualified exercise professionals. This is when patients will then become part of a community exercise class, making a lifestyle change rather than short term intervention.
Saints Foundation Pathway to Health for Arthritis teaming up with WRIGHT Foundation for CPD training
The project targets exercise professionals and comprises 3-day Arthritis CPD training with WRIGHT Foundation and a 1-day Escape pain training course. Saints Foundation will support the set up of fitness and exercise classes in the community. The plan is for these classes to be available by the start of April 2019, for a very low fee, to recommended people living in Southampton.
At the request of Saints Foundation, WRIGHT Foundation CIC developed Exercise Programming for Arthritis and Lower Back Pain CPD training which was delivered over 3 days at the end of January 2019 and gathered fitness staff from Saints Foundation Pathway to Health programme and local fitness instructors. Jessica concludes, “I am grateful for WRIGHT Foundation for developing and delivering this course. It fits with what we needed. In the longer term, we would like to see exercise classes being set up for people living with any condition: Cancer, Chronic Lower Back Pain, Obesity & Diabetes, etc. The Pathway to Health Arthritis project is only the beginning!”
Lorraine Nicholson, Training Director at WRIGHT Foundation, said “We at WRIGHT Foundation wholeheartedly support the work of the Saints Foundation, their Pathway to Health programme and the Escape Pain Project. Great people doing great work for their community and a pleasure to work with. We are looking forward to working with them on further initiatives in the future.”
The benefits of exercise to help recovery from major life-threatening conditions such as cancer, COPD, heart attack and stroke are well documented, as too are improvements in patients’ life expectancy.
We have already highlighted the benefit of exercise in coping with poor mental health, with the example of University of Bristol.
To reinforce this, new research recently released has shown that swimming significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety or depression for 1.4 million adults in Britain.
The need and willpower to get better and to achieve a new level of normality, drives patients suffering ill-health to explore many avenues for their treatment. Exercise is one of them, and is often offered through a referral scheme from a doctor or consultant.
For many who haven’t been before, a visit to the gym can be a daunting prospect. They are entering a world alien to what they are used to and have no idea of what this exercise regimen will entail. Having a trained exercise professional there who is approachable and welcoming, to advise and support them, will make a world of difference to the success of the referral and the patient’s enjoyment of the exercise experience.
Brian’s story: ‘The personal approach will always win.’
As part of our students’ profiling series, after featuring fitness instructor Patricia Park who emphasised on the value and benefits of exercise referral scheme, we approached Brian Gemmell, a self-employed fitness instructor based south of Glasgow (Scotland) who shared his experience.
For Brian, exercise has become key to his own wellbeing. By expanding his skills he is also able to give his clients who are living with and beyond cancer a more focused exercise programme.
Brian appreciates that the knowledge he gained on the courses was immense. “I can now sit with a client, asking them the correct questions, tailor their workout to suit the needs of their medical condition with the confidence that I know what I am doing. I can help them even more and that is very satisfying.”
In Brian’s experience, many of his clients have a medical condition such as thyroid related issues, high/low blood pressure or a respiratory condition. They are often reluctant to speak about it openly.
It is essential that the exercise professional knows what questions to ask, what signs to look for so that they build trust with their clients and they in turn can open up about their conditions. The personal approach is very important.
Make exercise personal
One of Brian’s clients, a lady in her mid-50s from Glasgow, has had three heart stents fitted and also suffers from high blood pressure. When she was first referred, she was unsure of what she could do at the gym.
In order to gain her trust, Brian took time to explain to her the training he had undertaken and qualifications he held. He then tailored a programme to suit her with gentle fitness, indoor cycling and other exercise suited to her medical history.
She is now much more aware of what her own body can do, working to her abilities and is leading a healthier and fitter life. Brian regularly keeps in touch with her. “I want to make sure she has a varied programme, so that she does not get bored with coming to the gym.” Indeed, clients are much more likely to remain as gym members after the referral period, knowing that they will receive personal attention from instructors who are aware of their medical history.
Training Director Lorraine Nicholson says “Exercise is a key element in people’s recovery from ill-health. The qualifications that Brian gained through WRIGHT Foundation empowers exercise professionals to guide people to a healthier lifestyle through exercise which will maximise their chance of living better and longer. Health and wellbeing of the patient is always at the heart of our courses.”
Are you a past student of WRIGHT Foundation? Would you like to be featured on our blog?
Call us on 01307 469055 or drop us a line at email@example.com. We would be delighted to hear about your progress, ask you a few questions and share your story.
Ways to recognise and deal with poor mental health are increasingly being highlighted in the media, making it the focus of many national and local initiatives in the UK to help tackle its consequences. According to statistics published on the Mental Health Foundation website, 4 to 10% of people in England will experience depression in their lifetime, some with tragic consequences such as suicide. We are all at risk to have poor mental health at some point in our life, from childhood to our older age, whatever our activity at home, at school or at work.
A Factsheet from Mental Health Network, published in 2017, highlights that deteriorating mental health has a direct negative impact on physical health, with people with a mental illness almost twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease as the general population, four times more likely to die from respiratory disease and are at a higher risk of being overweight or obese.
Restoring and maintaining your mental health
Whilst medication is reported as the most common type of treatment for mental health problems, there is a body of evidence that demonstrates that undertaking some form of exercise, together with other activities, will greatly help with instilling a feeling of wellbeing and maintain good mental health
Exercise is medicine for better mental health at Bristol University
On Mental Health Day (10th October), we spent some time talking to Peter Burrows, Physical Activity & Health Development Officer (pictured below) at Bristol University.
Bristol University like many other Higher Education institutions has sadly seen a rise in the number of suspected suicides among its student population. While trying to understand the reasons behind these untimely deaths, the University has taken a number of active steps to address poor mental health of students, one of which is introducing the Healthy Minds Scheme.
Bristol University: Healthy Minds Scheme
The Healthy Minds Scheme is run by the Division of Sport Exercise and Health and is a pioneering approach to user-led physical activity that seeks to positively impact on students experiencing mental health difficulty whilst at University.
Students who approach the Student Counselling Team or the Mental Health Advisory Service showing symptoms of poor mental health are clinically assessed to be accepted on the Scheme. Peter and his team of exercise professionals then work to create an activity plan for them which is based around 3 months of free access to premium membership including the gym, pool, exercise classes and social sport opportunities. They get multiple contact points with their mentor in the gym to progress their routines and are guided towards an exit route that looks to maintain their health behaviour either through the gym or by joining an active club or society.
“Last year I ran the programme entirely by myself and was able to support around 60 students through the scheme”, Peter says. “We have significantly expanded the programme this year to include a programme coordinator and embed the fitness team into the delivery of the project. As such we were looking for appropriate training to support our staff. We sought out the WRIGHT Foundation Level 4 Mental Health course earlier this summer with 5 of us from the University of Bristol attending. It turned out to be the perfect training opportunity to support the project and prepare our staff for working with this specialist population. The course was insightful and in depth and really reinforced the work I’d done previously in designing and implementing the project to support mental health through physical activity“. With the growing and newly qualified team in place, the Healthy Minds Scheme hopes to reach and support upward of 500 students in 2018-19.
Students Beth and Isaac took part in the Scheme. Put the volume on to listen to and watch their stories:
Healthy Minds for better mental health: future plans
Peter has ambitious plans to further expand the programme to offer a less intensive model which could make the programme more scalable and even extend the service to staff with a view to to taking a more preventive approach rather than what is currently a curative one.
In 2017, the ukactive Research Institute, in collaboration with Precor and Scottish Student Sport released a key report highlighting the important role physical activity can play in a university student’s life. This year, with the additional collaboration of British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), the research covered Britain. This report titled ‘The ‘British Active Students Survey’, highlighted the benefits of physical activity on mental health. With this evidence in hand, Bristol University, in conjunction with nine other universities, has now bid for and been approved funding through BUCS and Sport England to continue to expand the scheme and help develop a delivery model that can be adopted by other institutions in the HE sector as the benchmark in physical activity to support mental health.
Lorraine Nicholson, Training Division Director at WRIGHT Foundation CIC, said “It is a great honour to be involved in the running of such a worthwhile Scheme that is reaping benefits for the students and improve their mental health. We look forward to working further with Bristol University, and indeed other universities that are thinking of adopting this model.”
If you want to find out more about the Healthy Minds Scheme at Bristol University, please contact Peter Burrows directly on 0117 928 9000 .
We are starting a series of stories, profiling some of our past students who are flying the flag of GP referral schemes.
Patricia’s story: Making a difference as an Exercise Referral instructor
Patricia Park is a fitness instructor in her local Leisure Centre in Yorkshire. She qualified with WRIGHT Foundation Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral in 2016. The GP Referral Scheme she works with had already been well set up when she took over from her colleague. The Scheme is very busy with two local GP surgeries referring patients in. Currently Patricia works with more than 20 clients.
Her employer, East Riding Council funded her WRIGHT Foundation course as part of their fitness staff development and because there was a need to continue to service the Scheme with qualified staff.
Patricia explained, “This is a very valuable course and without it, I would not be able to correctly advise and help people who are referred with a varied range of medical conditions. The most common condition referred are often linked to weight management and for me, it is important to give clients the right amount of exercise as not to cause them more pain.
The GP Exercise Referral Scheme also allows GPs to alleviate their workload as exercise is now recognised to help patients who live with medical conditions. As the Gym also carry out health checks, clients get an all-round fitness service in one place.”
Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral: a win-win-win for all concerned
For Patricia, it has been the right career move with enhanced prospect and a higher rate of pay.
“Helping people with medical conditions is a valuable service and can make people’s day to day life much easier and often with less pain.That’s where the training and knowledge comes into play. I am able to adapt exercise and propose alternatives.
The Scheme has also offered many benefits: referred patients tend to stay and become members after the referral period. Coming to the Gym gives them a new lease of life.” said Patricia
As many of Patricia’s clients say, simply going along and doing some exercise a few times a week has changed their life.
Patricia highly recommends the training she attended with WRIGHT Foundation CIC. “The lecturer was brilliant, the course covers many common medical conditions and prepares you well to run a Referral Scheme.”
She is continuing her training, currently studying for Cardiac Rehabilitation, Mental Health and Obesity & Diabetes courses.
WRIGHT Foundation CIC Training Division Director, Lorraine Nicholson (pictured) shares her views: “At WRIGHT Foundation, we are committed to the concept that Exercise is Medicine and passionate about helping as many people as possible on the road to recovery from a wide range of medical conditions through highly trained individuals with specialist knowledge gained from our courses.
WRIGHT Foundation courses and its lecturers constantly receive excellent feedback about the quality, thoroughness and delivery. This then provides patients with first class motivated people to help them on the road to recovery and I am very proud to be involved in this.”
What is Exercise Referral?
Exercise Referral is a specific and formalised programme whereby a medical or health professional refers a patient to a fitness professional to be given tailored exercise advice, often based within the community.
Exercise Referral helps
promote physical activity and exercise to individuals who are living with a medical condition,
improve individuals’ health, well-being and lifestyle, and
encourage habitual participation for long-term benefits.
Exercise Referral Schemes exist throughout the UK in various shapes and forms, involving hospital, health and medical care teams and services, linking to exercise and phu between medical practices and exercise facilities, such as gyms, leisure centres, etc.
Being part of an exercise referral scheme affords you as an exercise professional the opportunity to play a vital role in the promotion of regular physical activity and exercise participation to individuals with a real need to improve their health and well-being.
Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral
The current National Occupational Standards (NOS)* states:
‘Instructors who are responsible for designing and delivering structured and tailored physical activity programmes for referred patients or assigning them to an appropriate physical activity must have a range of knowledge and skills specific to the referral process, specified medical conditions and relevant health risk factors related to physical activity participation.’
A Level 3 Diploma in GP Exercise Referral is therefore a sought-after qualification by exercise professionals who want to help their clients improve their health and fitness. The Diploma clarifies the relationship between exercise, medical conditions and medication to allow professionals to deliver a safe and beneficial exercise programme to their clients. Once a person qualifies, they have the tools and skills to establish, or, if already in existence, to continue running a successful referral scheme.