• Trinity College Dublin

Exercise Prescription for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease

Discover how physical exercise can help patients, including those with cardiovascular disease, mental health problems and cancer.

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Exercise Prescription for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease
  • Duration2 weeks
  • Weekly study4 hours
  • LearnFree
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $69Find out more

Discover why exercise is important in treating and preventing diseases

Over recent years, the full health benefits of exercise have become well established. Perceptions within the healthcare sector of exercise and its prescription as a treatment have also changed dramatically.

On this course from Trinity College Dublin, you’ll explore the evolution of exercise prescription. You’ll learn about the role of exercise in the treatment of a variety of clinical populations including those with cardiovascular disease, paediatric conditions and cancer.

You’ll also consider the connection between exercise and mental health improvements.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds It is widely known today that exercise and fitness can help prevent and treat various diseases. But how strong is the evidence to support this? Not that long ago, bed rest was prescribed to patients with cardiovascular and respiratory disease. And exercise was considered by many health professionals as something dangerous to be avoided. Today, exercise is an integral part of patient treatment.

Skip to 0 minutes and 43 seconds In this free, two-week course, we will examine the evidence that changed perceptions among many health care professionals towards exercise as a tool to prevent and treat disease. We will look back at how physical activity guidelines evolved for adults, older adults, and children. And the research supporting and informing these guidelines. Trinity College School of Medicine is an international leader in postgraduate education with a strong research focus. This course will be delivered by academic staff in the Department of Physiology and the discipline of physiotherapy. This course has a strong foundation in physiology.

Skip to 1 minute and 22 seconds To fully understand the effects of exercise as a treatment tool, we will describe the responses of the heart, vasculature, brain, and muscular skeletal system to exercise, and consider how physiological changes translate to meaningful health benefits. Considerations needed when prescribing exercises to specific clinical populations will be addressed, including those with cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, clinical paediatric conditions, those with mental health problems, and cancer. Appropriate exercise prescription can help specific conditions and symptoms. But despite this, physical activity levels in many clinical populations are very low. Of course, a better way to look at it would be that this is an area with room for improvement and improved physical activity levels and cardiorespiratory fitness can greatly enhance patient health.

Skip to 2 minutes and 18 seconds As part of this online course, we will discuss the safety of exercise and how to reduce the risks associated with exercise specific to clinical populations. Learn how physical activity guidelines have evolved, and how exercise can enhance the health of various patient populations, and be used to treat and prevent disease.

What topics will you cover?

Over two weeks discover the benefits of exercise in both preventing and treating diseases and enhance your confidence in exercise prescription as a treatment.

  • Week 1: Explore research on the benefits of physical activity; the evidence that has informed exercise prescription guidelines and safety considerations.

  • Week 2: Learn how physiological adaptations to exercise translate to improved health outcomes and the evidence that supports exercise prescription in several common clinical populations.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify basic physical activity measurement tools e.g. Heart rate monitors, accelerometers, pedometers and questionnaires.
  • Reflect on experiences of exercise prescription, physical activity guidelines, and exercise prescription safety.
  • Summarise the history of exercise prescription guidelines.
  • Describe cardiovascular and respiratory responses to acute and chronic exercise.
  • Identify the benefits of exercise for brain health, the musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and COPD.
  • Critically appraise current physical activity guidelines.
  • Appreciate the complex interaction between exercise, physical activity and the immune system, specifically the anti-inflammatory effects of exercise.
  • Describe how to objectively measure fitness and strength e.g. the six minute walk test, and hand grip dynamometer use.
  • Describe how exercise prescription guidelines can be adapted for clinical pediatric populations.
  • Describe how exercise prescription guidelines can be adapted for older populations.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the evidence to support exercise as a treatment tool for various clinical populations including those with osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for healthcare professionals who wish to broaden their understanding of exercise prescription and physical activity as a tool to prevent and treat disease.

No previous experience or qualifications are required.

Who will you learn with?

Dr. Neil Fleming is Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Human Performance Laboratory, Trinity College Dublin.

Dr. Aine Kelly is Head of Physiology, Trinity College Dublin, where she researches the effects of exercise on brain function. She teaches on the Online Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Exercise.

Associate Professor of Physiology at Trinity College Dublin

Dr Cuisle Forde has conducted research on physical activity and fitness in various patient populations. She helped develop and teaches on the Online Postgraduate Certificate in Clinical Exercise.

Who developed the course?

Trinity College Dublin

Founded in 1592, Trinity College Dublin is Ireland’s highest ranked university. It promotes a diverse, interdisciplinary environment to nurture ground-breaking research, innovation, and creativity.

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