Targeted exercise programmes (impact case study)

Promoting quality of life (QoL) for patients is a key priority for healthcare professionals.

It is generally well known that exercise is beneficial for healthy individuals, and there is now an increasing body of evidence that shows exercise is also beneficial for people with a wide range of health conditions, including stoke, cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

However, for patients with these conditions, and for the doctors treating them, there is a need for evidence-informed exercise advice. Patients want to be able to undertake exercise that is both safe and beneficial for them, and which takes into account their specific conditions.

A team of researchers in Sports and Exercise Sciences at Leeds - including Professors Karen Birch and Stuart Eggington, with Drs Carrie Ferguson, Shaunna Burke, Andrea Utley, Sarah Astill, Bryan Taylor - have been investigating exercise regimes for people with a range of conditions, including cardiac and stroke patients, older care home residents, post-menopausal women/middle aged women/type II diabetes patients, breast and rectal cancer patients, palliative care patients (with the Sue Ryder charity), childhood cancer survivors, and deprived children and older adults.

The type of exercise regimes investigated range from dance, cycling and seated exercises, through to Tai chi and interval exercise. For each of the conditions, work is being carried out to investigate the most appropriate and effective exercise, taking into account the needs of the patients and the settings in which the exercise programme will take place.

It is anticipated that this work will lead to a number of recommendations for safe and effective exercise.