Effects of Exercise Referral Schemes on Physical Activity - preliminary results

Nikita Rowley, Tim Williams , Elizabeth Horton, Gary Liguori , Steve Mann, Alfonso Jimenez

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding


Exercise referral schemes are clinical exercise interventions used in non-clinical settings throughout the UK, and are intended to improve physical activity (PA) levels and health conditions of medically referred individuals. At present, the literature reviewing the impact of exercise referral schemes on PA levels, well-being, and quality of life is inconsistent. PURPOSE: To determine if exercise referral schemes positively influence PA levels in a large cohort of of individuals throughout England. METHODS: Data were obtained from 7412 participants (Female N= 4965 [49.96, +/- 14.37y., Male N=2447 [53.15, +/- 14.75 y.) referred from hospitals (N=605), medical centres (N=406), outreach (N=353) and GP surgeries (N= 6048) to fourteen exercise referral schemes located across England. The participants’ self-reported MET/minutes per week were calculated at the start and end of the scheme to determine whether the clinical exercise intervention had any impact on participants’ PA levels. Scheme lengths were either 6 (N=1749) or 12 weeks (N= 5663) in duration and situated in leisure environments. PA programmes consisted of both aerobic and resistance training tailored to the individual. A paired samples t-test was conducted to determine if a statistically significant difference existed between pre- and post scheme PA levels. RESULTS: METS/minutes per week were combined for both the 6- and 12-week groups. There was a statistically significant increase of 290.9 MET/mins per week from pre- to post-scheme for the participants (Pre= 856.1, +/- 1278 MET/min/week, 95% CI [827, 885) to Post= 1147 +/- 1801 MET/min/week; t(7411) = -34.18, p<0.001, 95% CI [1475, 1509), with a pairwise correlation of 0.367. CONCLUSIONS: This is one of the larger samples to study PA levels in UK adults after completion of an exercise referral scheme. The results showed a significant pre-post increase in MET/min/week, although sustainability of this change is not known. Long-term follow up of participants, including a comparison group and deeper analysis of other health behaviors, is to be conducted to support the initial findings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise
PublisherAmerican College of Sports Medicine
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
EventACSM 65th Annual conference 2018 - Minneapolis, United States
Duration: 29 May 20182 Jun 2018


ConferenceACSM 65th Annual conference 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

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