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Why raise the issue of physical activity?
- Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality (accounting for 6% of deaths globally).
- The benefits of regular physical activity for adults, doing 30 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity on at least 5 days a week helps to prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions.
(World Health Organization (2010) Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health).
Being physically active can:
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce risk of stroke and other vascular events
- Reduce risk of falls, improve muscle strength and improve activities of daily living following stroke
- Improve levels of good cholesterol
- Reduce the risk of having a heart attack by 35%
- Reduced symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue for people with heart failure
- Reduce risk by 40% of developing type 2 diabetes
- Improve blood sugar control and reduce all cause mortality in people with type 2 diabetes
- Improve breathing and quality of life, and reduce severity of symptoms for people with COPD
- Reduce risk by 40-50% of developing colon cancer and breast cancer by 20%
- Help you to lose weight
- Help reduce stress, improve quality of life and psychological well-being
Please click on the links for full report on benefits of physical activity or for one page summary of key messages
How to raise the issue of physical activity
- Explore patient’s knowledge of physical activity and current physical activity patterns over a typical week.
- "One of the best things we can do to stay healthy is to be active. How physically active do you think you are?"
- "In the past week, on how many days have you been physically active for a total of 30 minutes or more?
- Physical activity may include: walking or cycling for recreation or to get to and from places; gardening; and exercise or sport which lasts for at least 10 minutes.
- If four days or less, have you been physically active for at least two and a half hours (150 minutes) over the course of the past week?"
- Alternatively you may wish to consider the use of a validated tool such as the GPPAQ tool or the Scottish Physical Activity Questionnaire
- Please also click link for more information about brief advice and and interventions for physical activity
- From this agree whether they are meeting the national guidelines of being moderately active for at least 150 minutes per week, which is equivalent to being active for 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Moderate activities are any activities which make us feel warm and slightly breathless (e.g. brisk walking) but you should still be able to talk without being too breathless.
- If the patient has made changes in the previous 12 months explore how the patient is getting on and whether they could benefit from support.
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