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NHS-backed exercise app allows employees to earn their own Apple Watch

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The world’s first NHS-approved exercise app, founded by a former Team GB physio, has teamed up with the tech giant to encourage the nation to get moving.

EXi is an evidence-based health app which produces personalised exercise programmes aimed at preventing and managing chronic diseases.

Backed by leading health organisations including the NHS and Sport England, it was developed by two world-class clinical physiotherapists, husband and wife duo Carron and Lewis Manning.

The app uses smartphone technology to guide users through a 12-week physical activity programme that is individually tailored to their specific conditions and health goals.

Carron Manning

It’s the world’s first and only app to provide an automated yet personalised exercise prescription, based on the latest scientific evidence for safety and effectiveness to those suffering from any number of 22 long-term conditions.

These include chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, osteoarthritis, or heart disease, which are often linked with a sedentary lifestyle.

Co-founder Carron, who has worked as a physiotherapist for 20 years, including a stint with Team GB has spent her whole career trying to get people moving.

“The ultimate goal for healthcare should be about prevention, first and foremost. We are targeting people who are sedentary, who are at risk of chronic disease or who already have a diagnosis of a chronic condition. By definition, if you remain inactive, you’re much more likely to develop something like heart disease, diabetes or obesity.”

She continued: “The evidence base for exercise is really strong, we know that it makes the biggest difference and often when compared against drugs and medical management, physical activity outperforms these treatments in managing conditions such as diabetes, depression and pain.”

Leading NHS figures have previously called for GPs to prescribe personalised exercise plans for patients to help them manage chronic conditions.

However doctors don’t have the time to work out safe and achievable weekly exercise targets for their patients.

EXi aims to help solve this, continually reviewing the latest medical evidence on physical activity and chronic disease to optimise patient outcomes.

“Healthcare should be about prevention first and foremost,” said Carron.

“The NHS is under increasing strain and doctors aren’t trained in physical activity they are trained in medicine. We want people to be able to use the app even before they need to go to their doctor.”

The EXi whole platform can be used with the Apple Watch and provides real-time analysis of exercise intensity and ‘user nudging’ to ensure exercising is done at the correct intensity.

“We want it to be safe and achievable, so we don’t want people to work harder than they need to, but we also do need them to work to a certain level to get that physiological response,” Carron said.

“The biggest difference that we see in health metrics is when somebody goes from doing absolutely nothing to doing something. We’re talking about a massive transformation in their functional capacity, from housebound to being able to go and pick their children up from school.”

As well as the general public, EXi wants health professionals, medical practitioners and organisations across the country to use the app to manage and track their health remotely.

It is also being targeted towards larger organisations to help boost the wellbeing of their workforce, by giving employees the opportunity to ‘earn their Apple Watch’ by completing their required physical activity.

“If they do enough activity their sponsor will pay for their Apple Watch and if they don’t they pay for the watch themselves, so it’s a win-win.

“Healthcare has traditionally been very adverse to anything techy, it’s an area of technology actually that’s probably fallen way behind everything else. We like to say self-care is the new healthcare – hopefully with platforms like EXi we will become more in control of our own health.”

EXi is free to download from the App Store and Google Play.

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