Summary

Many benefits are associated with participation in exercise-based CR for patients with established coronary heart disease. Sustaining these benefits requires maintenance of regular long-term physical activity. However, many patients find it difficult to maintain exercise participation and an active lifestyle. The exercise consultation is an effective intervention for maintaining physical activity and could be applied through all phases of CR. In addition, several randomised controlled trials have shown the exercise consultation to be successful in promoting and maintaining physical activity in the general population and for people with type II diabetes. Exercise consultation is based on established theoretical models of behaviour change, and it uses strategies to increase and maintain physical activity. This intervention is practical and could feasibly be incorporated into all phases of CR programmes to encourage patients to remain active. With minimal training, any member of the cardiac rehabilitation team could deliver the exercise consultation. However, in order to be trained to deliver the exercise consultation, exercise leaders need to understand the behaviour change theories on which the consultation is based and the counselling skills and strategies required to deliver the intervention. This would mean that the exercise consultation could be routinely provided to cardiac patients.

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