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The NHS virtual gym boosting fitness and social connections for cystic fibrosis patients

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 23 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4063

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  1. Emma Wilkinson, freelance journalist
  1. Sheffield
  1. emmalwilkinson{at}

Staff behind an online fitness project set up as a result of covid-19 are now making the case for a permanent change for cystic fibrosis care. Emma Wilkinson reports

The All Wales Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre in Llandough, near Cardiff, has four purposebuilt gyms in its outpatient department where patients are offered one-to-one training sessions. When covid-19 hit and patients could no longer come in, the team rapidly developed another way to keep patients fit and stay in touch.

By the end of March a virtual leisure centre with daily classes covering aerobics, spin, strengthening, and body conditioning was up and running. Thought to be the first of its kind in the NHS, groups of eight to 10 patients could sign up to classes done over Zoom.

Almost overnight it became apparent that patients who had never exercised before, who had rejected all the attempts to get them to come into the bricks and mortar centre for sessions, were signing up and enjoying it. The virtual …

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