Improving access to exercise for people with neurological conditions
Monday, 16 November 2015
Pioneering research by Professor Helen Dawes and the Movement Science Group at Oxford Brookes has led to significant improvements in exercise for people with neurological conditions, improving their quality of life.
Oxford Brookes' research into neurological conditions, such as Multiple
Sclerosis (MS), was already highlighted this week with the news of a new study,
funded by the MS Society, to assess whether chocolate can help to reduce
symptoms of MS.
This other research, by the Movement Science Group (MSG) based at the
Centre for Rehabilitation at Oxford Brookes, has looked into suitable exercises
for people with neurological conditions and their benefits, the barriers to exercise and appropriate systems
for safe community delivery.
Professor Helen Dawes said: “There is overwhelming evidence for the
beneficial effects of exercise, and increasing activity levels is now an
important part of government health policy today. However many people with
these conditions experience isolation from this and face barriers to exercising
in the local community.
“Through our research we found that a lack of training of fitness
professionals, a lack of knowledge on suitable exercises and a lack of appropriate
facilities were all affecting the ability of people with long-term neurological
conditions to participate in safe physical exercise.”
Through our research we found that a lack of training of fitness professionals, a lack of knowledge on suitable exercises and a lack of appropriate facilities were all affecting the ability of people with long-term neurological conditions to participate in safe physical exercise.Professor Helen Dawes, Oxford Brookes University
The research took the form of experimental studies and clinical trials; with exercise content and suitability one of the key themes. Specifically,
Professor Dawes investigated treadmill walking exercise for people with
MS. In the past concerns over fatigue and worsening the symptoms of MS,
meant exercise was discouraged. However Professor Dawes found that
aerobic treadmill training is possible for those with MS and well tolerated.
The MSG’s research was the first to provide evidence of a need for specific training of fitness professionals for people with long-term neurological conditions.
Professor Dawes wrote a National Occupational Standard (NOS) and this was endorsed by Skills Active, the Sector Skills Council for active leisure, learning and well-being. The MSG’s research was also presented to the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) who worked with them to develop the ‘Exercise Prescription for Long-Term Neurological Conditions' course.
This is the only level four accredited course in the UK for healthcare and fitness professionals who deliver exercise to people with a range of long-term neurological conditions.
Read the full Impact Case Study and others on our dedicated REF 2014 webpages.
In last year’s REF 2014 Oxford Brookes' substantial research activity was demonstrated with 94 percent of research found to be internationally recognised.