Exercise for Specific Groups

Exercise Within The Community - Is there enough?

What is exercise for specific groups?

The Government is regularly attempting to increase the awareness of health and exercise poothroughout the entire country. This is aimed at and provides for a variety of different groups such as; disabled people, postnatal and antenatal women, older adults, children and referred clients. It provides the knowledge and facilities in many ways locally to show the benefits and importance of exercise within the community which we will look at in this article..

Older Adults

Exercise and opportunities are provided for older adults in a variety of ways throughout the community. Blyth Valley Arts & Leisure is a key contributor towards providing these opportunities, for all older adults who might have thought they were too old for exercise.. THEY WERE WRONG. By accessing a BVAL card; they will recieve large discounts on use of gyms, classes and pools in the area. For Over 60's this is free of charge and so there's no excuse for not getting one. Adults under the age of 60 must pay a fee of £31.20 for 12months, but if a couple joins then this will only cost £41.10 for residents of Northumberland. These cards are easy to access as all you will have to do is collect an application form from your nearest services, fill it in, bring it to the centre and you're good to go! Using these discounts from the cards, the members will be able to gain access to numerous opportunities like; swimming classes from £2.60 per time and Agewell fitness classes from £3 per session. Agewell is a gentle aerobic class for the more mature exerciser. A great opportunity to keep fit and meet new people which is suitable for all fitness levels. To hire a bowls rink, will also cost only £7.90 per time so bring along some friends for a game and socialise - or even get some coaching for just £2.40 to be the best out of your friends. Games of snooker, table-tennis, squash and badminton are all available for very low prices per hour too so there is a variety of activities too suit all needs!
Bowling at Concordia Leisure Centre


Children are very well catered for within the community with a variety of opportunities available to stay active and get involved in sports and physical activity in the community. For the older children or teens this includes activities such as teen gym memberships, local sports teams in a variety of sports and levels, use of swimming pools or even renting out courts/pitches to have some non-competitive exercise with friends. A good supplier for all these activities is Blyth Valley Arts & Leisure which manages a variety of corporations in the area such as; Blyth sports centre, Cramlington leisure centre, Cramlington sporting club, Blyth sporting club and Ashington leisure centre to name just a few. These all provide an excellent service for all ages.
In particular, a great number of activities are available for younger children such as; softplay, parent and toddler joint swim sessions and school holiday activity sessions. The 'little squirrels' softplay area at Blyth sports centre and 'zoo' at Cramlington leisure centre are new and exciting areas great for 0-7 year olds, which is available for both the public from £2.60 per hour and also for private hire - costing from just £50 to hire out per hour for your children's own use - which is perfect for large birthday parties! Swimming at these centres' are also very accessible as it is FREE for Under 5's and just £2.10 for children 5+!
Opening Day at Little Squirrels Softplay


As with the other two categories, Blyth Valley Arts & Leisure also looks to provide an outstanding service towards giving all people an opportunity to take part in - and enjoy - sport. This includes a service for those who are deemed disabled in particular with a set up formed by BVAL in partnership with Northumberland Sport and Northumberland Children's Fund in April 2006 called, Ability 2 Play. This looks to increase the number of opportunities for young disabled people to take part in sports. The project has created a variety of opportunities which have allowed participants to take part in - and sometimes even form teams - in a variety of sports including; swimming, rugby, archery, sailing and football. This is normally free-of-charge due to the funding and so is an excellent opportunity for disabled children to participate in sport and learn and develop their skills in a comfortable surrounding with specialised and experienced coaches, during both term-time and in the holidays usually in evenings and weekends for children up to the age of 17. The costs are never more than £2 per session and can choose between participating competitively or just for fun.
The swimming pools at these centres are another way for disabled people of all ages to gain access to physical exercise and have fun with access costing just £2.10 per session with specialist equipment provided.

The Exercise Referral Process

Exercise referral schemes are designed to help people who would benefit from regular exercise. They are aimed at people with medical conditions that put their health at risk and people who are at risk through a non-active lifestyle. This is put into force by The Department of Heath who let local councils run in partnership with local primary care trusts (PCTs) to help provide a service to the public.

The referral process normally beings with an initial consultation at a local clinic who may perform a Par-Q, initial tests and a health screening questionnaire to help analyse what is wrong. This is done to provide contraindications of what can and can't be done whilst also providing legal protection. Assessments may include; range of movement, blood pressure, resting heart rate, BMI, lung function, flexibility and strength. If the initial consultant believes this problem may need further work, then they may refer the individual to a referral professional (eg sports therapist, physiotherapist or general practitioner). This may be free due to a referral through the NHS although if serious, the individual may choose to see a specialist which will also have less waiting time, although, as it is private, it may have a cost. Conditions which may needed referral can vary from; obesity, sedentary, cardiac, pulmonary or metabolic disease, injuries, arthritis, osteoporosis, mobility problems, multiple sclerosis and mental health. All of these conditions will be having an effect on the individuals life and lifestyle which will be causing a discomfort and so the referral must be quick, efficient and help solve the problem. The referral may lead to an exercise prescription which would include giving recommended guidelines and monitoring progress over a number of weeks - usually ten weeks with several sessions per week. During this time, they will also learn how exercise can have a positive effect on health and well-being and so they can see for themselves the benefits of staying fit and healthy.

Big image


Overall, as you have read in this article, there is a fantastic variety of opportunities to get involved in sport no matter who you are! This can all be done just a few minutes from your home and can be very low cost so there is no excuse for not getting involved! In the Northumberland area in particular there is a great range of sports to suit all needs and ages in a variety of centres due to Blyth Valley Arts & Leisure. The similarities that this provides is that all activities or clubs are all relatively low cost - particularly if a BVAL card is accessed giving great discounts. It also shows that, due to the number of centres in the area, ease of access should be relatively easy too with very little travel needed. The strengths of this is that it gives people of all ages an opportunity to get involved in whatever they have an interest in - whilst also specialising in certain activities to fully provide for everyone. However, to help further improve the projects for all of the above categories, BVAL could look to having more specialised fitness classes gym sessions for the older adults which are aimed specifically for them so that they don't feel uncomfortable joining in fitness classes with younger adults and are pushing themselves too hard. They should also look to provide more low cost holiday camps for children where they could travel to certain areas and perform days of sports to fully involve the area. Also, although BVAL has formed 'Ability 2 Play' which is excelling at involving disabled children in sports - they should also now look into increasing the age range to fully involve disabled people of all ages to allow everyone to benefit from the opportunities that they are creating. As well as this, they may look to provide specialist disabled sports aimed specifically at certain disabilities such as wheelchair basketball or boccia.
By doing these changes, the service which is provided is likely to become even more accessible to the public and so will help benefit and provide a service to help the local community become fit and healthy which is the aim of the game! As well as providing a greater amount of activities to help provide a range too suit all needs and adapting the location to suit young children in the holidays by going too them - they could also look into making the groups smaller to help work with the participants individually and gain a better understanding on the sports. They may also look into working with local transport so that access is easier for those people who are unable to drive by seeing if buses can run too match the times of classes, so that individuals are not put off by waiting for long periods of times for buses. They could also look to make the BVAL card help gain discounts on bus journeys to help prevent costs putting off people too.
Overall, BVAL is currently providing an excellent standard of provision of exercise to a variety of people, whilst looking too expand further - however, there are still some changes which can be made to help make the service even more accessible and better!

Thanks For Reading!

By Andrew Beadling