Royal College of General Practitioners Wales Leads the Way on Physical Activity Resources for GPs

The RCGP Wales has endorsed the Motivate 2 Move website as an educational tool for health professionals.

Developed by Dr Brian Johnson, GP and member of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine. Motivate 2 Move offers all health professionals the tools and information to enable them to educate, motivate and encourage patients about the benefits of physical activity.

Dr Brian Johnson, a Member of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, comments: “Physical inactivity is pandemic across the western world contributing to the huge increase in Non Communicable Diseases, threatening the health of our nations and set to cripple the NHS. The World Health Organisation ranks physical inactivity as the fourth largest cause of global mortality.  Physical activity is known to be essential for improved health and there is evidence of prolonged life resulting from as little as 15 minutes of regular moderate exercise. Motivate 2 Move provides GPs and their teams with the knowledge and resources to encourage their patients to adopt a more active and healthy lifestyle.”

Dr Rod Jaques, President of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine comments: “We welcome and support initiatives, like Motivate 2 Move, which encourage GPs and their teams to adopt a more proactive approach to recommending the right level of physical activity for their patients. The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK would like to see the health of the nation enhanced through physical activity and Motivate 2 Move, providing much needed resources for GPs, is a huge step in the right direction.”

The new website is also supported by Ann Gates from Exercise Works and both Ann and Brian have put together this handy overview of Motivate 2 Move and Exercise Works resources for GPs and health professionals looking for information on how to promote exercise in everyday consultations.

Resources for Health Professionals From Motivate 2 Move

Step 1. Know your Physical Activity Guidelines (PAG).

Despite the UK revising its PAG’s in 2011, they remain poorly utilised and initial analysis of the Motivate 2 Move website confirms the guidelines as the most accessed page. UK physical activity guidelines.

Step 2. Increase your knowledge.

Increasing knowledge across the Health Sector so that it is in common day usage, is a difficult problem. The link between physical inactivity in London bus drivers and increased coronary heart disease was made as long ago as 19531 and yet still the message is not getting through to the public.

Benefits of exercise in prevention or treatment are presented in 30 different conditions in the Health benefits section of Motivate 2 Move. It also includes the evidence about living longer and the newer part of the guidelines concerning the minimizing of extended sedentary periods.

Step 3. Motivate your patient to induce behavioural change

We can talk to patients in a direct style about the benefits of exercise or the dangers of inactivity but unless we engage with them and guide them in a collaborative process, there is little evidence that we will induce any behavioural change. This is crucial if we wish to help our population to become more active. The technique of Motivational interviewing in a GP consultation and a social behavioural approach are both demonstrated in Motivate 2 Move.

Step 4. Starting to exercise advice

Health professionals often worry feel uncomfortable about giving exercise advice. For many patients the thought of starting to exercise can be overwhelming. It is perceived as being difficult, painful, largely gym-based, with only demanding regimes producing real benefits. Much of the advice about exercise should be about incorporating more physical activity into everyday life, with alternative choices if required. On Motivate 2 Move there is brief guidance on the basic principles of exercise, how to start exercise, and the main contraindications to exercise.

Step 5. Need to know more? Resources

As we take on new areas of medicine it can stimulate us to learn more and even accept help with our new knowledge. Motivate 2 move has started a resource section of useful websites, aide memoirs for the professional or downloads for our patients and tips for GP surgeries.

Opinions vary widely on how individuals like to learn, so within the website we have included a variety of methods including podcasts and videos.

However, the main market is GP’s who want a one or two page document! They will find both in the resource section and then virtually all the other sections are being kept to 1-3 pages, with links to more information for those particularly interested in any area.

NICE recommends imparting information in bite size pieces. However, a bite may be a snack to one person and a meal to another, hence the choices on this site.

NICE bite size menu:

  • 1 page aide memoir – a taster
  • 2 side aide memoir – a sample taster of main menu
  • 1-3 page bites on health areas – main courses lightly done so that many can be sampled
  • Choice of menu- FYSS (Swedish guidelines) chapters on any chosen health area for those  who want more satisfaction and maybe just one course

Emphasis on key messages;

  • The paradigm of sitting having its own risks
  • The mental well-being generated by exercise
  • The importance of guided motivation as compared to a prescriptive technique

Reference: Morris,JN et al. Coronary heart disease and physical activity of work. Lancet 1953: 262:1111-  20 and 1053-57

Dr Brian Johnson MRCGP, MFSEM and Honorary Medical Advisor for Public Health Wales

Resources for Health Professionals from Exercise Works!

Exercise Works specialises in providing bespoke training courses for all aspects of the NHS, health care organisations, doctors, allied health professionals, charities, universities and work places on the benefits of exercise as a critical medicine. We train health professionals to give safe and effective exercise advice to patients, every consult. For course details contact Ann and her team here. Courses can be tailored from 2 days to half day sessions.

To support your patients during a consultation, Ann worked with McGraw Hill medical to provide over 70 “patients exercise sheets”– just a click, and your patients are supported by an information sheet designed to encourage and inspire disease specific exercise, following your medical advice. NHS Scotland are using the sheets as educational learning for their staff: check out 10 sample sheets on their e-learning site here.

Our training handbook (ISBN 978-0-992624249-0-3) is a great and easy read. It aims to train all health professionals (from whatever background) to give exercise advice and support that is disease specific. Buy it nowand train to give exercise advice confidently and have available as a reference source. We also have some great patient information and exercise tools. See our store for more details and purchase costs.

We provide evidence based updates on exercise and disease, both prevention and treatment, on a daily basis via our blogs and social media sites. Please follow us and share our great resources. Our professional’s resource page is also popular with health and fitness professionals so please check it out.

We also specialise in developing incredibly innovative and successful physical activity campaigns using contemporary design and social media!

Thank you for your time and I look forward to you training with us and using our combined educational material to help you prescribe exercise for all your patients’ needs, safely and competently.

Ann Gates, Founder of Exercise Works!