On Friday 8 June 2018, the Parkinson's Exercise Professionals Hub held their Inaugural Study Day meeting in London. Beccy Oliver, Hub co-founder, reflects on an energetic, enthusiastic meeting and what comes next for the Hub.
Since the launch of the Parkinson's Exercise Professionals Hub in 2015, our core team has been working towards a gathering for colleagues from across the arena of exercise prescription and Parkinson's.
The launch of the Parkinson's UK Exercise Framework (developed through Hub members) in November 2017, propelled us to organise a study day around the Framework. So, with much excitement, we welcomed nearly 60 exercise professionals to the Inaugural Study Day on 8 June.
The day began with a rousing welcome from Parkinson's UK Chief Executive, Steve Ford and an insightful introduction to the Hub from co-founder, Dr Bhanu Ramaswamy OBE. Bhanu took us through the history of exercise prescription for people with Parkinson's in the UK. She explained how research has helped us move forward in our understanding of exercise prescription, from an emphasis on posture to the present day gold-standard of increased participation and intensity of exercise.
Illuminating Bhanu's words were her real-life stories of people whose lives have been changed dramatically through exercise. A photo of a grinning Pamela Goff, Chair of the Sheffield Branch of Parkinson's UK, diagnosed 9 years ago and dressed in running gear told a thousand words!
Prescription of exercise is KEY! Bhanu's "Ideal Exercises" poster also gave us some examples of what an exercise prescription can look like in the real world.
Bhanu pushed the take home message of exercise needing to be considered as important to people with Parkinson's as medication.
Jemma South, head of the Content and Creative team, discussed information available for people with Parkinson's and the new local services map search on the Parkinson's UK website. This search function has great potential to signpost clients/patients to support and exercise groups, as well as showing professionals opportunities across a region that they could link up with.
Bhanu and I rounded off the day facilitating discussions around the dissemination of the Framework, and the growth of an online library of resources for exercise, there's much work to do!
Working together to improve exercise provision across the UK
Everyone left with an Exercise Framework Poster and with the knowledge that they had made many new and strategic friendships. Initial feedback from the day has been overwhelmingly positive. Many participants showed a willingness to get involved in helping to change the information given in first contact/diagnosis conversations and the uptake of the latest research in exercise prescription.
Change needs to happen - faster the better!
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