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Product profile: EXI

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The NHS-approved fitness app for people looking for the confidence to begin an exercise programme safely.

In the UK, more than 20 million people are classed as living inactive, sedentary lifestyles and almost as many (15 million adults) are diagnosed with at least one chronic disease.

In fact, 54% of people over the age of 60 have at least two chronic conditions. Many peer-reviewed articles, randomised controlled trials (RCT’s) and review papers highlight the need to include prescribed exercise in the management of chronic health conditions.

Could fitness apps help to fill this gap with limited drain on resources? Often, they centre around high intensity workouts, perhaps led by glamourous fitness influencers. The experience can be daunting to some; and even counter-productive to people with certain health conditions.

EXi (formerly known as iPrescribe Exercise), aims to challenge sedentary lifestyles and chronic health issues while removing these barriers to access.

The app creates a 12-week personalised exercise programme for the management or prevention of multiple chronic diseases and/or people with sedentary lifestyles. It is approved by the NHS and backed by Sport England.

Prescribed Exercise

The app, developed by physiotherapists, creates tailored programmes for individuals using a an “evidence-based algorithm” that analyses the user’s health status, current fitness level, any medical conditions they may have.

It also factors in resting heart rate, using the smartphone’s camera flash or an Apple Watch device to inform its personalised programme.

Exi’s creators say it is: “The world’s first 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 (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, cancer) and it remains the only programme in the world to have this capability.”

Tracked Progress

Within its exercise prescription, users can choose their preferred method of exercise, including walking, running, cycling, aerobics, interval training or bodyweight training.  Exercise videos and coaching are included within the app.

At the end of each workout, users are prompted to log their RPE (perceived effort level) and their heart rate so progress can be tracked over the 12-week period.

The app analyses the users core health metrics including their weight (which generates a BMI score), their resting heart rate (using the mobile phone camera flash), their abdominal circumference and blood pressure.

It also tracks a range of personalised health metrics that are individual to each user e.g. fatigue levels, blood sugars, pain scores – all of which are medically validated and provide an indication of the user’s current fitness level.

The whole platform can be used with the world’s number one watch (the Apple Watch) and provides real-time analysis of exercise intensity and ‘user nudging’ to ensure exercising is done at the correct intensity.

British-based couple Lewis and Carron Manning, who have over 40 years combined clinical practice experience, created EXi to support people needing to get active and improve their overall health.

“EXi fills a huge void in the market for safe, effective, health and fitness support for the sedentary, older adults, and those with chronic health conditions who perhaps would like to exercise but don’t know where to start,” says co-founder, Carron Manning.

“These demographics often lack knowledge and confidence and are frightened that the wrong kind of exercise will actually be detrimental to their health. EXi is clinically proven to support these overlooked individuals, who make up more than half the population.”

EXi is free to download from the App Store and Google Play. Users start on a 12-week initial activity programme but can continue to use the service indefinitely after this.

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