New initiative looks at how physiotherapists can encourage patients to undertake strengthening exercises and meet official activity guidelines
In collaboration with Sport England and the Centre for Ageing Better, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has announced a new project to find the best ways to promote the benefits of maintaining and improving muscle strength for people visiting their physiotherapist.
The initiative will explore people’s understanding and perceptions of the importance of regular strength and balance activities, and create messaging and approaches that will help more people meet the Chief Medical Officers’ recent Physical Activity Guidelines.
These guidelines advise that all adults do strengthening activities at least twice a week.
Importantly, the 15-month project will look at the role physiotherapy staff can play in encouraging more uptake of strengthening activities, both directly with patients and in developing and promoting materials, such as strength-based apps or training programmes.
Jess Kuehne, Senior Programme Manager (Healthy Ageing) at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “Physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals can play a huge role in supporting people to strengthen their muscles and improve their balance. This is a great initiative which we’re very glad to support.
“Many of us don’t realise the huge difference that improving our strength and balance can have to our wellbeing, especially as we age, and very few of us meet the recommended weekly guidelines for muscle strengthening exercise.
“We need to do much more to make sure physiotherapists understand how they can help individuals meet the guidelines and communicate their importance to people across the country.”
The project will involve an insight phase, comprising focus groups, surveys and research, and a creative phase, which will involve testing a range of messaging concepts to encourage people to do more strengthening activities each week.
Sara Hazzard, CSP Assistant Director of Strategic Communications, commented: “We are delighted to be working with such high-profile partners and feel this reflects a recognition of the critical role physiotherapy staff play in supporting people with a range of conditions.
“This work has the potential to deliver a greater understanding of people’s fears and motivations when it comes to strengthening and find ways to help them lead independent, active lives.”
The initiative received National Lottery funding via a £150,000 grant from Sport England.