Sports scientist on mission to use exercise to help the unwell live better 

A Portsmouth exercise scientist is leading the way in the UK to help people access healthcare that helps them avoid illness and, if they’re already ill, to live better with their condition.

“We help Bradley Wiggins go a tenth of a second faster, but I’d like to see sports science expertise given to the rest of the population, too.” – Dr Andy Scott

Dr Andy Scott, a clinical exercise specialist at the University of Portsmouth, is on a mission to help Britain catch up with the USA and Australia in preventive health care provision, and in the management of long-term chronic conditions.

He runs England’s only Master’s in clinical exercise course which trains exercise clinicians to work with people with heart disease, lung disease, cancer, stroke and other chronic conditions.

He said: “It’s very British to think the NHS will save you and your loved ones from everything health-related, but sadly, it can’t.

“In sports science, there’s been a historic emphasis on elite sport – can we help Bradley Wiggins go a tenth of a second faster, for example – but I’d like to see sports science expertise given to the rest of the population, too, to help more of us thrive and maintain a good standard of health.”

Research has shown exercise has a marked effect on physical function, quality of life and health services use in those with a long-term health condition.

“Unfortunately, preventive health care is not a high priority in the UK because the NHS can’t afford to prioritise prevention over looking after those who are already unwell,” Dr Scott said.

“If you’re in the US or Australia, or if you’re able to afford private healthcare in Britain, you see a different emphasis – it’s about helping people avoid becoming unwell, and for those who are already unwell, improving their quality of life and reducing health care expenditure.

“That’s the goal for me and for those I work with – to help improve the quality of life for people living with long-term conditions and to help Britain meet the challenges of an ageing population.”

Dr Scott developed his course in an attempt to meet a gap in training for exercise careers in healthcare. In addition to their academic studies, his students study four vocational qualifications in using exercise to help people with or recovering from heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer care, stroke and preventing falls. It is currently the only such course in the UK to embed vocational training and offer structured work placements.


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  1. As a now retired (67) fitness and Pilates instructor, who has attended at least 4-5 courses for the older population, balance, neurological conditions, and updated my skills annually as well as membership of a professional body, I was never allowed to advertise my classes in a GPs surgery. The doctor tells the patient to exercise, but the patient does not know where to go. Maybe to the local authority gym where the classes are not screened, and packed to the rafters……
    Just a small suggestion toward preventative care, which costs the NHS zero.

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