Legs (Local Exercise Groups For Stroke And Neurological Conditions)
To provide affordable and accessible rehabilitation to people living with neurological conditions.
LEGS (Local Exercise Groups for stroke and neurological conditions) provides affordable, long term, physiotherapist led rehabilitation and exercise classes for people who have had a stroke or live with a neurological condition such as Parkinson's or Multiple Sclerosis.
What we do and why
For people living with the long term health impacts of stroke, acquired brain injuries and other neurological conditions, access to specialist, physiotherapist-led rehabilitation is either not available where they live or unaffordable. That's where LEGS comes in. We provide specialist exercise classes, education, social interaction and community re-integration for people with neurological conditions. We run our subsidised classes in person and online, meaning we are there for people regardless of their postcode or income.
Our clinical approach has been developed through evidence based practice and up to date guidelines. Our innovative style of community rehabilitation is well regarded, demonstrated by numerous requests to present at industry events, as well as the high number of referrals received from the NHS.
Our services are urgently needed. In addition to the estimated 14.7 million neurological cases in England, equating to at least 1 in 6 people living with one or more neurological condition(s) (Neurological Alliance, 2019). Overwhelming pressure on NHS services as a result of COVID-19 has reduced, already limited, community rehabilitation. The consequence is that people with long term neurological conditions are not able to access expert help and an appropriate intensity of rehabilitation.
This can have a devastating physical as well as mental impact, affecting independence and quality of life as well as leading to greater healthcare and wider societal costs. For instance, 45% of stroke survivors surveyed in 2018 by the Stroke Association felt abandoned when they left hospital. This is why LEGS was established. To meet a recognised, and growing problem, where people with long term neurological health impacts are being forgotten and left behind. We pride ourselves on understanding and responding to our members; they are at the heart of everything we do.
“As an NHS community stroke therapy team, we are very limited in the amount of sessions we can provide after stroke recovery, which takes years. LEGS provides somewhere that our patients can continue their stroke recovery rather than feeling alone. They can gain peer support from other stroke survivors, get cardiovascular/strengthening exercises, discuss common problems and share solutions”.
"This charity has one of the best rehab exercise programmes running online for people with neurological impairments."
Dr Caroline Appel, Clinical Lead Physiotherapist, St Pancras Hospital
"LEGS has changed my life within a couple of weeks, despite being involved in healthcare services for my condition for over 10 years."
All participants joining our programmes undertake a one-to-one consultation with a physiotherapist which includes: a thorough medical assessment; setting of personal goals; introduction to the LEGS support framework/community and signposting to appropriate resources. Participants, our ‘LEGS members’, then join a weekly programme of exercise, with the aim to improve muscle strength and targeted limb function, develop confidence and ultimately support them back into independent exercise and living.
We run weekly discussion groups which provide information, guidance and sharing of mutual experience. LEGS members receive regular communications from the LEGS team with home exercises, self-help advice and signposting to resources. The workshops and information sharing helps members to understand more about their condition and how to self-manage.
Members meet to share experiences and access peer support and attend LEGS social events. We also support members and carers. This social interaction has been crucial in supporting members to reduce feelings of isolation and improve mental wellbeing.
In a 12 week study we found 100% of participants’ emotional wellbeing improved and 100% had reduced anxiety and depression.
“I would have been in a wheelchair for ever if I had not had LEGS.”