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Exercise Referral

Further information

For people who have medical conditions, the challenges of becoming more physically active can be complex, often leading them to have a sedentary lifestyle, which in turn can make their medical condition and general health worse.


Our Exercise Referral programme combines structured education with practical physical activity. It is designed to build or restore people’s confidence in leading as active a lifestyle as possible, despite any limitations they may have, and to enjoy the physical, mental and social health and well-being benefits this brings. It teaches the basic principles of exercising safely and the benefits of different kinds of physical activity. Participants are supported to find their own personal physical activity preferences, gradually building their understanding and confidence and overcoming practical and psychological barriers to being more active, as well as discovering local activity options. 


The programme complies with relevant NICE Guidance, including relating to behaviour change (NICE PH6, PH49), physical activity and exercise referral schemes (NICE PH54), and PHE guidance on recommended levels of physical activity per week.


Exercise Referral comprises a 1:1 ‘Getting Started’ session including an initial assessment and 12 x 1 hour sessions over three months. It can be delivered to groups of up to 16 from leisure and other community venues in either a ‘closed’ or ‘open’ delivery format. 


Coaches attend a one-day training (for those who have completed our two-day foundation training). Our extensive resources include an 84-page manual and full ‘kitbag’ for Coaches, including portable activity equipment, and an 80-page workbook, a pedometer and local ‘Step Challenge’ for participants.

In summary

Our Exercise Referral programme combines structured education with practical physical activity. It is designed to build or restore people’s confidence and enjoyment in leading as active a lifestyle as possible, despite any limitations. 


Designed for delivery from both fitness / leisure and community or primary care settings, it helps participants find new and sustainable ways of being active after referral from their GP.