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professional support materials

BHF Exercise Referral Toolkit.

Last Updated: 2/18/2019

This toolkit was been developed by the BHF National Centre for Physical Activity and Health, to support professionals in designing, delivering, commissioning and evaluating exercise referral schemes.

advice service

UK Chief Medical Officers issue advice for health professionals on physcial exercise during pregnancy

Last Updated: 6/29/2017

The UK’s Chief Medical officers (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have jointly released new advice on physical activity for expectant mothers— believed to be the first of its kind in the world. The new recommendations aim to reduce issues such as obesity, diabetes and other health concerns during pregnancy. The latest evidence suggests pregnant women should carry out around 150 minutes of ‘moderate intensity’ activity every week. This is described as ‘activity that makes you breathe faster’ while still being able to hold a conversation. This new advice is being issued in the form of an infographic, aimed at providing midwives, nurses, GPs, obstetricians, gynaecologists, as well as the leisure sector, with the latest evidence on physical activity during pregnancy. Women who have not been active before pregnancy are recommended to follow a gradual progression of exercise—beginning with 10 minute bouts of moderate intensity exercise, gradually building up to 150 minutes. The activity should be spread throughout the week, and it is important to remember that ‘every activity counts’. The new advice was constructed by the CMO Expert Committee for Physical Activity and Pregnancy, which included midwives, obstetricians, exercise physiologist, GPs, Public Health Consultants, Sports Medicine, exercise professionals, nursing and research scientists. The project was led by Professor Marian Knight and Dr Charlie Foster from the University of Oxford. The aim was to produce evidence-based messaging for health professionals to use with the public. The infographic was developed and tested with panels of health professionals and pregnant women before consultation with more than 250 UK based doctors and midwives. Health professionals are encouraged to use this infographic to discuss the benefits of physical activity with all pregnant women, to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle, with approximately 1 in 20 women being recorded as obese during pregnancy. The key points are: - Pregnant women who are already active should be encouraged to maintain their physical activity levels. - Women may need to adapt their activity throughout their pregnancy. For example, replacing contact sports with a non-contact sport or an appropriate exercise class. - Importantly, the evidence supporting this infographic found no evidence of harm for maternal or infant resulting from moderate intensity physical activity. - Those who were not active before their pregnancy are advised to avoid intense exercise, such as running, jogging, racquet sports, and strenuous strength training. But some activities can be adapted. - The final safety message is a common sense ‘don’t bump the bump’, referring to all activities which place pregnant women at an increased risk of injury through physical contact. - The study recommends pregnant women avoid activities where there is an increased risk of falling, trauma or high impact injuries. These include skiing, water skiing, surfing, off-road cycling, gymnastics, horse riding and contact sports such as ice hockey, boxing, football or basketball. They are also discouraged from exercise that requires lying flat on their back after the first trimester. - If you experience breathlessness before or following minimal exertion, headaches, dizziness, chest pain, muscle weakness affecting balance and calf pain or swelling, seek medical advice. Women may also be advised to reduce/stop physical activity following pregnancy complications such as vaginal bleeding, regular painful contractions or amniotic fluid leakage.


Mapping Physical Activity Referral Schemes in Northern Ireland.

Last Updated: 12/3/2012

Commisioned by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) this document provides a detailed report on the nature and extent of exercise referral schemes in Northern Ireland (2008).


Physical Activity and Adolescent Girls – Knowledge Exchange Network

Last Updated: 10/28/2009

This feature has been developed to support a knowledge exchange network on physical activity in adolescent girls.


Promoting physical activity for children and young people

Last Updated: 10/26/2009

Guidance on the promotion of physical activity for children and young people within a number of settings.


Top Teen Concerns Are Losing Weight and Fitting In: Troubled Teens Reveal Social Divide

Last Updated: 10/14/2009

Report that summarises a study investigating teenagers’ worries and fears.

journal article

Do adolescent leisure-time physical activities foster health and well-being in adulthood? Evidence from two British birth cohorts

Last Updated: 10/13/2009

Study that investigates the effect of physical activity in adolescence on adult health and well-being, especially in terms of reducing health inequalities.

journal article

Health-enhancing physical activity and sedentary behaviour in children and adolescents

Last Updated: 10/13/2009

Article that reviews physical activity in children and adolescents using a behavioural epidemiology framework.


Sport Northern Ireland

Last Updated: 8/18/2009

Sport Northern Ireland is the national governing body for sport in Northern Ireland.

government department

Northern Ireland Public Health Agency Physical Activity Resources

Last Updated: 8/17/2009

The Northern Ireland Public Health Agency is responsible for public health policy including physical activity.

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