The National Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS) is a Welsh Government funded scheme in partnership with Public Health Wales (PHW).

The scheme operates in all areas of Wales to standardise exercise referral opportunities.

The scheme is an evidence-based health intervention that incorporates physical activity and behavioural change, and helps clients make and maintain healthier lifestyle choices to improve their wellbeing.

It provides access to tailored and supervised physical activities that are fun, rewarding and that can be incorporated into everyday life.

How do I access the scheme?

You will need to be referred by a health professional (usually your GP, practice nurse or a health care professional such as a specialist nurse or physiotherapist).

The scheme targets people aged 16 and over who are inactive and have – or are at risk of developing – a chronic medical condition.

What does the scheme consist of?

The scheme lasts between four and 32 weeks, depending on the reason for referral.

Each session will last approximately one hour and activity will vary from indoor activities such as gym, circuits, Tai Chi or aqua-based exercise, to a range of outdoor activities such as cycling, Nordic walking and walking football.

Where is the scheme delivered?

The scheme is delivered at various leisure centres such as Wrexham Waterworld, Plas Madoc Leisure Centre, Gwyn Evans Sports Centre in Gwersyllt, Chirk Leisure and Activity Centre and Queensway Stadium, as well as from some local community centres across the county.

It is also delivered at various outdoor locations including Alyn Waters Country Park, Ty Mawr Country Park, Bonc Yr Hafod Country Park, and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Trevor Basin.

Condition specific pathways

NERS includes exercise programmes specific to certain medical conditions, including:

  • Exercise after a stroke.
  • Cardiac rehabilitation.
  • Weight management and diabetes.
  • Back care.
  • Falls prevention.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation.
  • Mental health.

We advise you discuss these elements of the scheme with your health care professional.

What are the benefits?

Physical benefits

  • Improved cardiovascular fitness.
  • Increased muscular strength.
  • Stronger joints.
  • The onset of osteoporosis can be delayed.
  • Body fat and excess weight may be reduced.
  • Relaxation and sleep might be improved.
  • Being better able to carry out the activities of daily living.
  • Feeling more alert and energetic.
  • Maintaining good posture.
  • Helping to normalise blood pressure.
  • Reduce risk of developing diabetes.
  • A reduced risk of blood clotting.
  • Helping to maintain independence, rather than becoming dependant.

Psychological benefits

Here are some comments people have made about the psychological benefits:

  • "I feel less anxious and stressed." 
  • "My confidence and self-esteem are better." 
  • "Being more active helped me to give up smoking." 
  • "The activity sessions gave me time for myself." 
  • "My wife says I look a lot happier." 
  • "I took more responsibility for my own health."

Here are some comments people have made about the social benefits:

  • "It was a good opportunity to meet other people who had the same worries as I did." 
  • "The sessions made me get out of the house and gave me a new interest." 
  • "I made new friends and enjoyed the conversations we had." 
  • "I feel much fitter and can play with my grandchildren for longer now."