Physiotherapy, Exercise and Physical Activity Course

This course originally took place as a free open online course in 2016. The course has since been updated and accredited for CEUs/CPD points and is available for you in Physioplus, it can be started and completed at any time that suits you.


Course Type - Open, Online
Course Reference - PP07
Course Co-ordinators - Ann Gates, Rachael Lowe
Institution - Exercise Works and Physiopedia
About this course - This online course will develop knowledge of Physical Activity.
Who can take part- This course is aimed at Physiotherapy and Physical Therapy professionals, clinicians, students and assistants; other interested health care professionals interested in this subject are more than welcome to participate. 
Date of next course -  4 July 2016
Time commitment - approximately 24 hours over 6 weeks
Requirements - You will complete online learning activities, engage with additional resources, take part in the conversation online and complete the course evaluation.
Assessment - There will be a final quiz and you will be asked to write a case study on physical activity.
Awards - Completion certificate.


This inter-disciplinary educational course is designed to help healthcare professionals understand the size of the problem of physical inactivity in populations globally, the role of physical inactivity in the causation of a number of conditions and the benefits of exercise in treatment and prevention, and to encourage those who access the course to perform and evaluate interventions to increase physical activity in their settings. The course aims to inspire and support all health care professionals to lead on physical activity advocacy and action within their practice, from local to global action.

Course content

This course aims to provide all participants with the: confidence, competencies and capabilities, to offer safe and effective physical activity and exercise advice. It highlights some of the WHO physical activity recommendations together with key points from over 76 NICE guidance statements. The content covers the context, prescription, contraindications, considerations and patient information for key NCDs and other specific conditions, using exercise advice and support.  Over the six weeks the course will cover:

  • Week one - Basic principles of the relation between exercise and health
  • Week two - Global issues surrounding physical activity
  • Week three - Role of physical activity in chronic illness
  • Week four - Role of physical activity in specific conditions
  • Week five - Integrating physical activity into clinical practice
  • Week six - Being a physical activity leader

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. describe the basic principles of the relation between exercise and health
  2. identify issues surrounding physical activity locally and globally
  3. explain the role of physical activity in chronic illness
  4. explain the role of physical activity in certain medical conditions
  5. communicate the importance of influencing physical activity opportunities for both patients and the public
  6. demonstrate appropriate selection of physical activity options for personal and workplace wellness
  7. identify appropriate physical activity quantification methods
  8. design services with better access to exercise, physical activity and leisure time opportunities for patients and the public

Intended audience

This course is suitable for any Physiotherapy or Physical Therapy professionals including clinicians, assistant or students who have a good understanding of the key principles of physiotherapy but wish to understand more about including physical activity in their clinical practice. It will also be of interest to any health care professionals (e.g. nurses, occupational therapists, medical doctors, fitness professionals, community outreach workers) motivated to upgrade his/her knowledge on physical activity for health.

Course structure

Participants will be given a number of tasks each week to complete, namely:

  1. Complete between 2 and 5 learning topics each week that consist mainly of reading tasks
  2. Look at additional readings, videos and resources
  3. Complete a short quiz
  4. Contribute to an online discussion run through the Discussion Forum

Time commitment

This course is 6 weeks long.  Participants will be required to devote a minimum of 4 hours per week to the course.  These 4 hours can be completed at a time that suits you, there is no requirement to be online at a specific time.


The course will be run in English although participants will only require basic English skills (reading skills are more important than conversational skills). Participants will be encouraged to be respectful and empathetic to those for whom English is not their first language (e.g. in the discussion forum, online comments).

Accreditation, Assessment and Certification

On the successful completion of this course each participant will be provided with a Physiopedia certificate of completion and PP+ points (our own Physiopedia Plus points which are equivalent to CPD points/CEUs). These will be awarded provided you have:

  1. Contributed to the online discussion each week
  2. Completed the pre and post course competency tool
  3. Passed the final course quiz
  4. Submitted a case study on physical activity during week 6
  5. Completed a course evaluation form

People involved in this course

Course co-ordinators

The course coordinators for this course are Ann Gates from Exercise Works and Rachael Lowe from Physiopedia. Both Ann and Rachael believe that exercise and physical activity can promote health, prevent chronic disease and illness, reduce the cost of treating chronic disease, help people recover from illness and improve quality of life in those living with long-term conditions. This course could also offer the basic theoretical knowledge before a more advanced practical course tailored to specific needs.

Course facilitators

Our course facilitators are all clinicians with a great deal of experience of integrating exercise and physical activity into health care. They have been instrumental in creating the course content and will be guiding you through the course and answering your questions in the discussion forum each week.

Course Contacts

Throughout this course you should email us if you have any problems at all. We would prefer that you let us know about problems or difficulties that you have encountered so that we can provide assistance.

Contact course co-ordinator


You might find this list of resources useful throughout the course:


Thanks to the following organisations and individuals for their contributions to this course: