New Year Exercise Prescriptions

BCA member, Hannah Fairris, shares thoughts on prescribed exercise in the UK.

An increase in exercise has been proven to not only improve our overall health and wellbeing, but also our mental health. The NHS states that adults should do some type of physical activity every day, because even the smallest amount of physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke.

As we look to start 2023 and think about ways to improve our wellbeing, GPs are prescribing exercise to those who need to increase the amount they move their bodies for various health conditions. The short term and long-term benefits of prescribed exercise are countless and with less than 5% of adults participating in 30 minutes of physical activity each day, adding exercise into your routine could be hugely beneficial.

However, a recent survey from the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that while a quarter of people say that they would be more active if advised by a nurse or GP, 70%-80% of clinicians don’t speak to their patients about exercise.

There is currently a government pilot of ‘prescribed exercise’ whereby 11 Local Authorities have collectively been given £12.7m to fund pilot projects, such as adult cycling training and free bike loans in each area over the next three years. Patients will receive a specific fitness plan and timetable developed by a healthcare professional, designed for their bespoke need.

Hannah Fairris, BCA Member and Chiropractor, comments:An increase in exercise levels is linked with significant reductions in morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, arthritis and osteoporosis; reduced anxiety and depression; enhanced well-being; and improved physical function. The pilot projects are the latest in a trend towards recommending exercise to help alleviate such chronic conditions.

Due to the specific and unique needs and interests of the patient, the goal of prescribed exercise should be more focused on motivation and customisation, thus making achieving goals more likely to become successful. As BCA members and chiropractors, we place our patients needs at the forefront of our treatment through our patient-centred approach. Through our Patient Charter pledge to our patients we as BCA chiropractors offer full transparency throughout treatment. We see huge potential in working more closely with our patients to understand their needs and wants to provide them with the best possible care. Healthcare professionals can tap into chiropractors’ expertise in MSK conditions, leaning on them for support with patient caseloads.

Outside of adding exercise into a daily routine the other side of this programme refers to the need to invest more into community classes, such as rehab groups for Parkinson’s patients, classes to educate the elderly on the recovery of a fall as well as and community support groups. Not only will this teach patients important self-management strategies, helping them regain their confidence and control over their respective health conditions, whilst also enabling them to build connections, friendships and a support group with those who might face similar challenges in life.

Hannah has also shared her top five tips to help increase the amount of exercise in your daily life:

  1. Be clever about how you can be a little more active each day. Try taking the stairs, or standing on the bus.
  2. Reduce the amount of time you stay sitting or lying down, and take regular breaks from being still.
  3. Stretch your body twice a week.
  4. Aim to do 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week, such as brisk walking.


About the British Chiropractic Association: The BCA is the largest and longest-standing association for chiropractors in the UK and has been named ‘Best Professional Body of the Year’ at the Memcom Excellence Awards 2022 for its Repositioning Project which has played a pivotal role in changing the healthcare landscape for the better. As well as promoting international standards of education and exemplary conduct, the BCA supports chiropractors to progress and develop to fulfil their professional ambitions with honour and integrity, at every step. The BCA is raising awareness about the rigour, relevance and evidence driving the profession and the association’s ambition for chiropractic to be more closely embedded within mainstream healthcare.

The BCA is the home for chiropractors who provide patient-centred, evidence-based care and offer full transparency to their patients. Through the Patient Charter BCA chiropractors provide reassurance to their patients and that they will empower them to make an informed decision about their treatment.

More about Hannah Farris, BCA Member, Chiropractor and student Physiotherapist: Hannah spent the majority of her chiropractic career working in general practice, establishing MSK triage services across the Winchester Primary Care Network. At the start of the pandemic, MSK services across the city had to be suspended; Hannah then became the Operations Manager for Winchester’s largest GP practice, leading the flu vaccination campaign, and making sure the practice was able to meet its targets through the challenging year to come. Since her general practice positions in early 2022, Hannah has been working in a variety of hospital and community settings as part of her physiotherapy studies, as well as working as a bank clinical tutor at AECC’s chiropractic clinic.