Gentle Exercise Classes

Gentle Exercise Classes

Gentle exercise to help with management of long term health conditions.


To help participants with long term health conditions, who are referred by a health professional, to attend and safely participate in exercise sessions. These exercise sessions are specifically designed following British Association for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (BACPR) guidelines to develop balance, co-ordination, functional strength and cardiovascular fitness.

Sessions help manage and improve long term health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, joint conditions and mobility restrictions, high blood pressure, cancers and post cardiac intervention. The group setting also helps people with their mental health and social interaction skills. Exercise classes are delivered by our Physical Activity Referral Service (PARS).


Blackley, Ardwick, Wythenshawe, Levenshulme, Withington & Openshaw

Benefits of exercise

Exercise is beneficial for both physical and mental health. In adults, exercise has a positive impact on numerous chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, whilst in older adults it has been shown to help prevent falls. Physical activity improves mental wellbeing across all ages, including for people with disabilities. Physical activity can also deliver cost savings to the health and care system by reducing preventable illness thus demand on services.


“I thoroughly enjoyed the exercise classes held at Boggart Hole Clough and found them extremely beneficial, I can't wait for them to start again when the current COVID restrictions allow us to exercise outside in groups. Whilst waiting for an operation I have found that the exercise sessions have helped me so much, both mentally and physically. They have helped me carry on enjoying activities like spending quality time with my grandchildren, walking, and have encouraged me to do more exercises during the week that I probably wouldn't have done otherwise.

Another couple of great things about the sessions are that you get the opportunity to meet some lovely people, although we work hard during the sessions, that doesn't mean that we can't have a quick chat before and after. Rick makes it interesting by changing the routine and doing it all to music is a bonus, I can't recommend these sessions enough.”

“I enjoy the class because it's a relaxed atmosphere and you do the exercises at your own pace which is great. The encouragement you give us all is second to none and the banter is easy going and light-hearted. I really enjoy the classes.”

“I love the classes, they’re not only good for my physical progress, but also my mental wellbeing. My sister has commented that I'm doing well!”

“The first exercise session was a revelation to me, I was expecting a really gruelling time from the outset but after a really effective warm up session, I found that I was enjoying myself and feeling really good both mentally and physically. The social side of the sessions is excellent, meeting people and exercising together really prevents me feeling isolated. I wish this service had been around when I had my first heart operation in 2002. It’s an excellent service which I hope carries on for many years and helps more people to stay healthy.”

“I really appreciate the whole NHS buzz PARS team for helping people like me to be active regularly. We have an excellent trainer, who is very patient towards us. She takes care of each and every individual while leading sessions, correcting them and encouraging them to do more exercise. I feel that I have very much benefited from attending these sessions, I have already lost 2 kg in weight and feel very active these days.”

“We benefit from the classes in many ways, they are led by friendly and understanding instructors who provide lots of support and encouragement. It’s also a great way of meeting people and socialising. You can work at your own level of fitness, and adjustments are made to the exercises for your ability. Exercising has improved morale and made us feel better. The sessions are help improve stamina and strengthen legs, balance and coordination. We are able to walk further outside and our balance has improved. Without these exercises there would be a deterioration in my health and wellbeing.”


Exercise sessions are set up within local community areas across Manchester using facilities such as leisure centres, places of worship, lifestyle, community and public centres and parks. This makes them accessible to anyone and easily reached, even if participants only use public transport.

Sessions are often set up to meet demand within a local area. Whether that be in relation to a certain class type (condition specific), increasing the number of classes or to meet diversity and equality, such as ladies only sessions.

Because sessions are community based it allows our Physical Activity Referral Service team to have good links with leisure centres. Community classes create a valuable pathway for long term, more independent exercise.

Project team


St Anne’s Roman Catholic Church


Referral from a health professional is needed for someone to attend these classes. You can refer people here.

If you want any more information or have any questions please email or call 0161 271 0505 (option 1).

Strategic links to local/national policies

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"The patients really enjoy the [PARS] sessions and feel a real benefit from continuing to exercise in a supportive environment."

Janet, Respiratory Specialist Physiotherapist, MRI

Janet, Respiratory Specialist Physiotherapist, MRI photo