Campaign launches are a good way to get us all talking and thinking about our wellbeing, so it was great to see PHE’s One You campaign – and its Active 10 app - hitting the headlines earlier this month.
The campaign aims to get people moving more, for instance doing bouts of at least ten continuous minutes of brisk walking every day, but the launch is also a perfect time for health and care professionals to reflect on how we can do our bit to promote physical activity.
As health professionals we know that being active is essential for health, helping to prevent or manage over 20 common serious conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and some cancers. So taking every opportunity to champion physical activity is crucial.
And there are lots of resources to help you. Our All Our Health resource for instance contains a range of important information on this topic.
But in this blog I wanted to focus on some specific tools and resources to help you promote physical activity to the people you support and care for.
Giving brief advice
As health professionals the time we get to spend with people is often limited, but even when time is tight, providing brief advice on physical activity can be an effective way of prompting people to be more active (1 in 4 people would become more active if advised by a health care professional).
The relevant NICE guidance, which recommends identifying adults who are inactive, takes you through the brief advice process and you can also use these infographics from the Chief Medical Officer as a conversation starter.
Please also take a look at this excellent new blog from two of PHE’s Physical Activity clinical champions who talk about why it’s so important to have conversations about physical activity.
Motivational interviewing and health coaching
More and more front-line health professionals are advocating meaningful conversations with patients, asking what really matters to them rather than the idea of “telling them what to do”.
Take a look at this e-learning module on ‘motivational interviewing in brief conversations’ and you may also be interested in our recent blog which provides a great introduction to the benefits of health coaching.
Referring and signposting
Wherever you’re based across England there are services, initiatives and tools that can help your patients – regardless of their age or fitness – to get and stay active. Great examples include:
- The Walking for Health Website (which includes a postcode search), which lists free, short walks all over the country
- parkrun advertises free 5km runs for all abilities, with many locations across England
- The One You website contains a range of trusted advice about physical activity
- NHS Choices also has a range of pages on physical activity for all ages
- The Couch to 5K app has been designed to get people off the couch and running in just 9 weeks
For more information about physical activity referral opportunities in your area, health and care professionals should contact their local authority public health team or County Sports Partnership.
The Active10 app
No physical activity blog published this month would be complete without a mention of Active10, an app designed for all adults, but particularly adults in mid-life.
At any age we can make lifestyle changes that have a positive impact on our health and quality of life, now and in the future. Incorporating ten-minute brisk walks, or more, into daily life is just one example of a small change that can have a big impact.
The app is a useful tool to recommend to your patients as it helps them monitor the amount of time they have been walking, the amount of time they have spent walking briskly and also the number of chunks of brisk walking they have achieved.
All our Health
Have you seen All Our Health? Visit our resource aimed at all health and care professionals, which helps you use your knowledge, skills and relationships, working with patients and the population to prevent illness, protect health and promote wellbeing.