Why it matters
Strengthening the connections between sport, physical activity, health and wellbeing, so more people can feel the benefits of, and advocate for, an active life, is one of the five big issues in our long-term strategy, Uniting the Movement.
Despite evidence showing that one in four people would be more active if advised by a GP or nurse, nearly three-quarters of GPs don't speak about the benefits of physical activity to their patients because of either a lack of knowledge, skills or confidence, with 80% reporting being unfamiliar with the national physical activity guidelines.
Almost 50% of GPs, in a recent survey of 830 GPs in England, indicated that a barrier to effectively advising patients about physical activity were concerns by the patient about perceived risks of taking up physical activity (46%), but this is a recognised barrier across healthcare professions and not just those in primary care.
Through the work of the Moving Healthcare Professionals Programme, the new consensus statements will give confidence to the 650,000 healthcare professionals to promote physical activity and lead to more people with long-term health conditions enjoying sport and physical activity – having fun, making friends, being healthy and building stronger community connections.
As well as the physical benefits, the mental health and wellbeing of people is boosted, communities become more cohesive, and individual employment prospects are supported.
Also, if just one in four of the inactive population received and acted on advice from their healthcare professional, there'd be 2.9 million less inactive adults in England who'd gain the benefits of moving more.
The timing of the statements is also crucial, as our most recent Active Lives Adult Survey report found the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic led to a decline in the number of people with long-term health conditions taking part in sport and physical activity.
Even since restrictions started to ease, those with a condition have seen no recovery in activity levels.
We’re working hard to help people with long-term health conditions build activity into their lives.
We Are Undefeatable, a national campaign led by a collaboration of 16 leading health and social care charities that benefits from our expertise and insight, along with National Lottery funding, aims to help those with conditions such as diabetes, cancer, arthritis and Parkinson’s to build physical activity into their lives.
For more information on the campaign, and to become a supporter, visit the campaign's website.
This research provides us with the foundation and evidence for future collaboration across health, sport and physical activity partners, including insurers to review the need for medical clearance and explore and determine what appropriate pre-participation screening protocols should look like.
Insights from the recent #EasierToBeActive consultation, led by the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine at Sheffield Hallam, which saw over 600 people take part, many with lived experience of health conditions, provides further evidence to support the development of these reviews.