Increasing levels of physical activity decreases the risk of premature mortality associated with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer (Matthews et al., 2017; Zhang et al., 2017). MedEx Wellness is a community-based chronic illness rehabilitation programme, which offers supervised physical activity classes to patients with a range of chronic illnesses. The aim of this research is to implement the programme in IT Carlow and evaluate the effectiveness of this rehabilitation programme for adults suffering from established cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes or cancer. The research will involve analysis of existing MedEx Wellness programmes, planning and implementation of the programme and periodic testing of participants involved. Adults suffering from established cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes or cancer will be recruited for the study and will attend IT Carlow for testing. On the first visit, a blood sample will be taken to measure total cholesterol, triglycerides, lipoproteins and insulin; participants’ height, weight, waist and hip circumference will be measured; participants will complete a questionnaire and some simple tests of strength and flexibility. They will also be given a device to wear on their leg for 7 days to monitor their physical activity. On the second visit, participants will perform attention and memory tests, a 6 minute walk test and set goals for their exercise programme. Participants will also be provided with a blood pressure monitor to wear for 24 hours. On the third visit, participants will take part in a beginner exercise class and complete specific tests related to their specific conditions (e.g. lung function test for pulmonary disease). After the testing visits, participants will begin the MedEx programme, which involves attending 2 exercise sessions a week for 12 months. At 3, 6 and 12 months, participants will repeat the initial tests in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the exercise programme.
For more information see http://www.itcarlow.ie