Edel Larkin, Community Sports Hub Coordinator , Athlone Regional Sports Centre; Marie Smith, Midlands Exwell participant; Orlagh Claffey, Chief Operations Officer, Dublin Midlands Hospital Group; Liam Cunningham, General Manager, Athlone Regional Sports Centre; Dr Theresa Donnelly, Consultant Geriatrician, Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore; Daniel Fagan, Head of Operations, Exwell Medical and Colm Connolly, Midlands Exwell participant; and Pat O’Callaghan, Midlands Exwell participant.

Athlone exercise classes for people with long-term illnesses

The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG) launched a new ExWell Medical Programme for 2022 in the Athlone Regional Sports Centre. The programme is offering community-based supervised exercise classes, as well as home programmes to people with many different long term illnesses. Participants will be encouraged to become fit and active in a friendly, enjoyable environment.

The aim of the new ExWell Medical Programme at Athlone Regional Sports Centre is to provide effective, high quality, safe and accessible exercise rehabilitation to those with chronic illness. The classes are free of charge and funded by the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group and participants must be referred by a medical professional.

The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group have made two information videos on the new programme:

· What is the new Midlands ExWell Medical Programme: https://youtu.be/i26u5wpVzDQ

· Hear from our participants: https://youtu.be/gTFMUFv7SlM

Trevor O'Callaghan, Chief Executive Officer, Dublin Midlands Hospital Group noted: “The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group is very proud to support this incredible programme, which can greatly improve a participant’s quality of life. The Hospital Group has identified community-based clinical exercise programmes as a very important intervention for rehabilitation and enhancement of wellness in people with any form of chronic (long-term) illness. We look forward to seeing the programme develop and make a meaningful change in participant’s lives going forward.”

Dr. Noel McCaffrey, Founder and CEO of Exwell Medical commented at the launch: “The rationale behind ExWell Medical is that a large proportion of the disability and unwellness that comes with any long term illness is caused by becoming deconditioned. At ExWell we can improve or reverse this with appropriate exercise thereby greatly enhancing a person's quality of life. Athlone Regional Sports Centre is an ideal location for the programme.”

Dr Jerry O’Flynn, GP Kilbeggan Medical said: “We have found that our patients are enthusiastic about this programme and it is providing a marked benefit in physical coordination, mood and stamina. There is a real holistic and social element to its delivery and ease of referral for the healthcare professional.”

Liam Cunningham, General Manager, Athlone Regional Sports Centre commented: "At Athlone RSC we provide forward thinking and accessible solutions to enhance our communities health and wellbeing. The Exwell programme therefore, is a really good fit for us as it targets people within our community who have had a chronic illness and with the guidance of both the Exwell and Athlone RSC teams.

Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council Cllr Frankie Keena and Chief Executive of Westmeath County Council Pat Gallagher stated that Westmeath County Council are delighted to see the exciting results of the pilot Exwell programme rolled out in Athlone Regional Sports Centre in 2021:

Pat O’Callaghan, participant of the Midlands Exwell Medical programme said “Since joining Exwell, the stiffness in my back has freed up, muscles have gotten strong again and I can now swing a golf club with ease and comfort, I even won the Club Weekend Competition in October which I believe I could not have achieved without the contribution of the Exwell Exercise Programme. Apart from the benefit to my golf game, I really feel the benefit to my physical wellbeing. Joining Exwell was the best thing I did in 2021!”

Colm Connolly, participant of the Midlands Exwell Medical programme added: “When my doctor suggested I do this programme, I must admit I was hesitant. But now twelve weeks later, I am so glad I took his advice as it is one of the best things I’ve ever done! With the help of Edel and the fitness team, the programme has been of great benefit to me. I’ve lost a stone in weight.

ExWell Medical is a social enterprise pursuing the mission of transforming the lives of people and families living with the burden of chronic illness through community based exercise programmes.

Referrals must be made by a medical professional.

Doctors, allied health-care professionals including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses and social prescribers, can send referrals via email to exwellmedical@healthmail.ie or by post to ExWell Medical Programme, Athlone Regional Sports Centre, Athlone.

The programme is free of charge and is funded by the HSE/DMHG.