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This content is taken from the Trinity College Dublin's online course, Exercise Prescription for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds Hello, and welcome to the first session of this two-week course, entitled Exercise Prescription for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease. The aim of this course is to provide health care professionals with information on the safe and effective prescription of exercise, in clinical populations as well as in general populations. I’m Cuisle Forde, an Assistant Professor in the discipline of physiotherapy, Trinity College Dublin. And together with Dr. Aine Kelly, we will be guiding you through this course.

Skip to 0 minutes and 40 seconds It is widely known that there are health benefits associated with being physically active and being fit. But how strong is this evidence, and how much of a difference does it make? Is exercise really a wonder drug for disease prevention? It is recommended that we engage in 30 minutes of physical activity a day. But where did this figure come from, and should patient populations be more or less active? Can exercise slow the progression of disease or even reverse disease processes? And if so, which ones? In this course, we will look at the literature which supported the development of physical activity guidelines, the health benefits of physical activity, and the strength of evidence on exercise to prevent disease.

Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds Going beyond the literature, we will seek to understand the physiological mechanisms at play that lead to health benefits. For example, how does exercise affect the brain? And what exactly happens in our bodies when we exercise to result in the prevention of cardiovascular and metabolic disease? We will explore the role of exercise for children, the elderly, those with cancer, in those who have survived cancer, as well as other clinical adult and paediatric populations. Are you confident prescribing exercise or giving exercise advice to a patient? Often, health care professionals are wary to prescribe vigorous exercise or resistance exercise. We will discuss the safety of exercise prescription and how to minimise risk in the general as well as clinical populations.

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 seconds By the end of this course, we hope that you will gain a working knowledge of physical activity and exercise and an awareness of the latest research in exercise prescription. We hope you enjoy this course. And above all, stay active.

Welcome from the team!

Welcome to this course on Exercise Prescription for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease. In this short video, Prof. Cuisle Forde talks about the key learning objectives of this course, and what’s in store for you over the next two weeks.

Five educators will be guiding you through this course from the discipline of Physiotherapy and the discipline of Physiology at Trinity College Dublin.

This week Cuisle and Aine will be guiding you through exercise prescription for the prevention of disease. This will include defining physical activity, exploring perceptions of exercise prescription, examining the body’s response to physical exercise, looking at the evidence behind exercise prescription, and detailing physical activity guidelines. Read more about their roles, and why they value exercise as a treatment tool:

Professor Cuisle Forde
Through an interest in technology and innovative teaching methods, I helped develop Trinity College’s Online Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma in Clinical Exercise. My research is primarily in the area of exercise and physical activity levels in paediatric and clinical populations, including those with chronic communicable diseases.
Dr Cuisle Forde
Professor Aine Kelly
Prof. Áine Kelly is Professor in Physiology and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Science Education in Trinity College Dublin. She holds a first class honours degree in Physiology and PhD in Neuroscience from Trinity College Dublin. Her research expertise lies at the interface between exercise physiology and neuroscience. Her specific research focus is an assessment of how lifestyle factors such as physical activity and fitness can enhance brain function throughout the lifespan and help to protect against age-related decline in cognitive function. She has published over 40 scientific research papers and book chapters and her research has been funded by the Health Research Board, Science Foundation Ireland and IRCSET. She is President of Neuroscience Ireland, Ireland’s national neuroscience society.
Professor Aine Kelly

Next week, Cuisle and Aine will be joined by two more exercise prescription experts, Mikel and Fiona, who will be exploring exercise prescription for the treatment of cardiovascular, pulmonary, brain, and musculoskeletal diseases. They will also be looking at exercise prescription for children and older adults, and examining tools for measuring exercise. Read more about them:

Professor Mikel Egana
I am an Associate Professor of Physiology at Trinity College Dublin. I am primarily interested in determining the most effective exercise training interventions to improve the cardiovascular health and exercise tolerance in clinical populations. An optimal exercise prescription is considered as important as an optimal pharmacological prescription or dietary modification particularly during the initial years after the onset of type 2 diabetes as well as other cardiorespiratory chronic conditions.
Dr Mikel Egana
Professor Fiona Wilson
l am an Associate Professor and Head of the Discipline of Physiotherapy at Trinity College. I have over 30 years of clinical and research experience of physiotherapy and exercise medicine. I have worked in elite and international sport as well as hospital medicine and I am interested in exercise in managing disorders and disease in all populations. I have a particular interest in musculoskeletal disease and recognise that exercise has a very positive effect in managing such disorders.
Professor Davis Coakley

Dr Neil Fleming will also be on hand to respond to your queries. Read more about Neil.

Dr Neil Fleming
l am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Human Performance Laboratory at Trinity College Dublin. This role involves the exercise testing and training prescription of elite athletes from across the country, while my own research focuses on neuromuscular adaptations to training in athletic and clinical populations. Having worked for 3 years as an exercise scientist in America, I am a huge advocate of the ACSM motto “exercise is medicine”.
Dr Neil Fleming

Will Fox will be helping you with any technical queries and comments.

From June 28th, this course will not be monitored by academics. If you have any questions or queries, please address these to other learners in the discussion section below. The discussion section is still moderated to make sure comments are in line with FutureLearn’s Code of Conduct.

We have included a glossary of terms in the downloads section of each step that you can refer to and we hope it includes all the terms included within this course (if you come across any terms that are not included please let us know through the comments).

Now that we have introduced ourselves, we would love to hear about you and why you have joined the course. Helpful instructions on how to make comments and reply to other learners can be found here.

Click on the pink speech bubble icon at the bottom of this page to introduce yourself to your fellow learners and the team.

Once you have watched the video, and introduced yourself to other learners, click on the pink circle below on the right to Mark as Complete and then click on the Next button below right to take you to the next step.

Welcome to the course!

Course note: Individuals and pathologies vary greatly. None of the opinions discussed as part of this course are designed, nor intended to be an offer to treat, prescribe or give advice to individuals with cancer or any other pathologies. The research, opinions and content presented throughout the course should in no circumstance be solely relied upon by any learner. If a learner is suffering from a particular health condition being discussed during the course, they should always seek medical advice from a qualified practitioner.

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This video is from the free online course:

Exercise Prescription for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease

Trinity College Dublin