National Exercise Referral Schemes – And Beyond…

The National Exercise Referral Scheme is available to individuals who are at risk of developing chronic disease, by providing an opportunity for them to access supervised group exercise programmes to improve health and well-being.

A few years ago, I was offered the opportunity to study towards obtaining a GP Exercise Referral Scheme Diploma with a view to allowing me to plan and deliver exercise programmes for the Wales National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS). At this time I was still recovering from a protracted illness and was very unsure about my capacity to be able to undertake such a responsibility, however, I persevered and my studies commenced.

That year passed very quickly, with new learning comprising of assignments, examinations, and assessments, and additionally, to compliment the formal studies, I also shadowed existing NERS instructors to further my practical knowledge. As the New Year dawned, so did the feelings of light and hope: not only had I expanded my knowledge base, but also obtained my certification as a GP Exercise Referral Instructor. I gained much satisfaction from meeting with clients, assessing their needs, and planning and delivering group NERS sessions throughout leisure centres in Ceredigion.

An inherent quality of life is that few things remain constant. When I think back to my own ill-health, I could see no light, no silver lining, no return to a healthy body and mind – I had lost all hope. But I was fortunate to have the support of several rehabilitation teams, one of which was the National Exercise Referral Scheme: yes, I too was a participant of the scheme at one time (but I expect you may have already appreciated this from my opening paragraphs). However, I digress; as I was saying, few things remain constant, and so, some two years later, I decided to withdraw from NERS. From here on, I focused my attentions on developing and delivering a tailored health, fitness, & well-being service through the implementation of considered lifestyle changes, achieved through exercise, nutrition, and mindfulness. The foundations of such an approach was based upon both proven best practice and (I think just as importantly), on my own rehabilitation experiences, to enable me to help improve the health, fitness, and well-being of all who would seek my assistance through private consultations – a facility which NERS could not provide. Having broadened my qualifications, I now offer a variety of services from Gym refresher courses to Personal Training programmes, all of which are all detailed in my ‘Services’ section. So why not take a look and see how I may help you to become a better you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Before I end this, my introductory blog, a final paragraph (or two) on the National Exercise Referral Scheme: firstly to its instructors, we would do well to remember that individuals are referred to us for assistance in times of need – for some it may be due to a physical ailment, whilst for others it may be mental health related, but in any event, their ill-health means that they are (to a lesser or greater extent) in a compromised state of health. They place an immense amount of trust in us, and I think, as instructors, we would do well to treat each and every participant on an equal standing; exercising humility, understanding, compassion, empathy, and patience.

To the participants of NERS throughout the towns in Ceredigion where I have had the pleasure of providing support to you, for my part I say with sincerity, thank you all – it has been my pleasure to have been in your company, and I hope that the support I provided to you whilst in my care, was worthy of the trust you placed in me.

‘Heads up, shoulders back, core engaged, and of course, keep smiling’.

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