A prescription for exercise
Jasmin Cheah, APAM, reviews an app that creates an evidence-based exercise program for clients based on their health information.
Developer: Physiotherapists Carron and Lewis Manning
Get it: App Store
iPrescribe Exercise is an app developed in the United Kingdom that creates a personalised graduated 12-week exercise plan based on a user’s health information. The app is designed to help meet the recommended guidelines of either ﬁve times 30 minutes of moderate intensity, or three times 25 minutes of high- intensity exercise by program completion.
The user is taken through a seven-step medical screening tool to determine exercise suitability, which formulates a program based on current health level, and educates on cardiovascular and metabolic risk proﬁle.
If the user has no contraindicated medical conditions, they are allowed to continue entering health information such as details of resting heart rate and whether they are taking heart rate or rhythm altering medications.
There is even the option of completing a GPS-tracked six-minute walk test. Despite the restricted choice of non-functional goals and medical conditions, the app succeeds with each medical condition linking to the ‘library’ screen, which advises on how the program will beneﬁt them, and details cautionary signs and symptoms to look out for when exercising with this condition.
Once the level of exercise intensity and duration have been determined, a week-by- week exercise plan is created allowing the user to complete and record progress with a GPS-tracked cycling or walking session, an aerobic exercise video, or with their own alternate activity. Progress is also tracked by entering speciﬁc health data and completing rating scales at the end of each session and week. Advice is given if abnormal values are entered.
The app triumphs in its navigational simplicity, consumer-appropriate advice, and by tracking progress to ensure target goals are reached. Where the app falls short is the inflexible program design, which seems to focus on one exercise type for those with minimal physical disability.
- generates a personalised evidence-based exercise program based on the user’s health status, and progresses duration and intensity to meet the recommended exercise guidelines
- a progress report can be sent via email to the user’s healthcare provider.
- more suited for users with a relatively high level of mobility
- exercises seem to focus heavily on improving aerobic ﬁtness, with little attention for other types of exercise such as strength and balance.
It is recommended to visit the iprescribeexercise.com website for detailed explanations on user navigation, deﬁnitions of terms used and important exercise tips.
Note: the views expressed by the reviewer are not necessarily those of the APA.
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