Refit for Life! Launches

An online rehabilitation program for transplant recipients
Refit for Life! launches
Encouraging recipients to lead a life of fitness and well-being


Imagine being told by your doctor that you were suffering from a terminal illness. And your only hope was an organ transplant! And then imagine receiving the ultimate gift – the gift of life – and being given a chance to reset the clock and start again.

The World Transplant Games Federation (WTGF) is embarking on an ambitious worldwide program to help members of the global transplant community embrace their new lives. The ‘Refit for Life’ Toolkit is an initiative of the WTGF’s Fit for Life! Global program aimed at helping transplant recipients take the first steps to get active and start enjoying a new and increased quality of life!

The WTGF Fit for Life! Program has been a global success helping transplant recipients to start on a pathway to a life of health and fitness. However, as WTGF President, Chris Thomas explained, it is that crucial three to six months period immediately post-transplant that matter most in changing behavior. “Refit for Life is a rehabilitation program aimed directly at recipients emerging from hospital and contemplating what they are going to do next?” Mr. Thomas said.

“Traditionally our Federation hoped they would sign up for the World Transplant Games – a fantastic event with a 40-year history of helping recipients set new benchmarks and personal goals. However, our research has shown that before sport, before running and even before walking, we need to help recipients improve their muscle tone, their cardiac output and their flexibility. We need to give them confidence to look beyond what has been described as a ‘fear of movement’ and teach them to start slowly and build up to a life of activity and wellness.”

The Refit for Life program is a modular web-based program designed to take recipients through a six- month program which will improve not only their fitness and nutrition but their mental wellbeing and overall quality of life. “Many recipients, having spent years chronically ill, literally don’t know how to take those first few steps. Refit for Life guides them gently and gives them confidence,” Mr. Thomas said.

WTGF General Secretary, Liz Schick, a liver recipient, said the importance of online education for the worldwide transplant community could not be understated. “It is 20 years since I received my life-changing liver transplant. Fortunately, I had been a fitness instructor and knew the basics of getting back into shape. But for the majority of recipients, whether they have new hearts, lungs, livers or kidneys, exercise can be a daunting task,” Ms. Schick said. “The WTGF is extremely proud to provide world events for recipient athletes and now we have an important and potentially life-changing program to help those emerging from hospital.”

The Program in detail:
The Refit for Life program is a 6-month exercise plan to help recipients get active.

  • It is made up of 4 x 6-week modules and runs very similar to an online study course.
  • Each module contains assessments, a 6-week exercise program and a short video.
  • You have to complete the tasks in each module before you can move onto the next one.
  • The software does not allow you to move on without completing all tasks.
  • The software also implements time frames (i.e. you cannot complete the next assessment until 6 weeks have passed since downloading the exercise program)


The Program modules:

  • Exercise Program 1 (6 weeks) – Let’s get moving (A short and simple walking program to get you moving again. Includes some basic mobility exercises to loosen things up for the upcoming modules.)
  • Exercise Program 2 (6 weeks) – Off the marks! (An interval walking program building your cardiovascular fitness. Includes an introduction to some basic strengthening and toning exercises as well as some stretching exercises.)
  • Exercise Program 3 (6 weeks) – Building Blocks (Longer duration walking intervals as we start to increase your cardiovascular fitness. An introduction to full body strengthening and stretches of the major muscle groups.)
  • Exercise Program 4 (6 weeks) – Final Straights (Walking program with increased intervals of up to 35 minutes duration. Includes a complex full body strength and toning program, with relevant stretches.)


Sign up by visiting

The WTGF welcomes partners who would like to promote this program in their local territories. Please contact for further information.

The WTGF thanks Astellas and a panel of medical experts for its support in building this program.

Acknowledgments to the Refit for Life program

  • Patricia Painter, PhD Education & Exercise Physiology, Research Associate Professor, USA
  • Professor Patria Hume, PhD, Professor Human Performance, New Zealand
  • Matthew Wallen. PdD, Exercise & Sports Science, Australia
  • Tania Janaudis-Ferreira, PhD, Physiotherapist / Assistant Professor, Canada
  • Sunita Mathur, PhD, Physiotherapist, Associate professor, Canada
  • Brad Ward, Doctor of Pharmacy, Pharm. D, Astellas USA
  • Dr. Heilie Uys, M Cur, D Cur (intensive Nursing Science) Nephrology Nursing, South Africa
  • Jean Ernest – Bsc Dietetics, Post Grad Diploma Dietetics, NHD Food Technology, Dietician, South Africa
  • Nicole Ribeiro – Bsc & Masters, Dietician, South Africa
  • Justin Bircher, BA Human Movement Science, BSc Honors – Biokinetics Biokineticist, South Africa
  • Prime Human Performance Institute,, South Africa


Contacts for inquiries :
World Transplant Games Federation
Kim Renyard
Executive Manager