Physical activity leadership (WS-05)

Friday 9 April 2021, 13:15-14:15
Channel 3



Physiotherapists globally have a critical role in supporting people to become more physically active, in particular those with health conditions, who face the greatest barriers to increasing activity levels. However, it is not always easy to meaningfully embed physical activity within healthcare systems and evidence suggests that physiotherapists lack the confidence, knowledge and skills to effectively advocate physical activity.

This short workshop will give attendees an overview of the impact of physical activity on the health of individuals and populations, the critical role of the physiotherapist and the role of the physiotherapist within a whole systems approach. We will consider different levels of influencing across a system from individual behaviour change right through to influencing national policy. By the end of the session attendees will be empowered to be physical activity advocates within and beyond physiotherapy.

This session will use a range of creative teaching approaches, it will be interactive and fun and relevant for all nations. This course is relevant for clinicians, academics, students and support workers.

We will begin with a short review of the global evidence for physical activity, this will focus on the impact on health and wellbeing, but will also touch on broader considerations including the impact on the economy and the environment. We will signpost attendees to relevant documents to enable consolidation of learning after the session.

We will consider patients' perspectives and will bring to life the experience of people with health conditions. We will review the academic literature on barriers and facilitators to physical activity for people with health conditions and we will consider how this evidence can equip physiotherapists to support individual behaviour change.

We will encourage attendees to think beyond individual interactions and will introduce whole systems approaches to physical activity. We will cover how systems thinking is different to traditional approaches and why it is suited to addressing 'wicked problems' such as physical inactivity. By developing an awareness of the wider physical activity landscape, we will enhance our ability to influence effectively within it. This session will encourage attendees to think about the broad physical activity landscape that their services exist within. We will look beyond healthcare and think about the other sectors and services that we interface with. This will lead into a discussion about who we want to influence and why? We will also explore the 'how' and the key components of effective influencing for physical activity.


  • By the end of this workshop you will have an understanding of the impact of physical activity on health at both individual and population level
  • By the end of the workshop you will be able to articulate the importance of embedding physical activity within physiotherapy. You will be able to apply learning to your own setting and have an awareness of how to influence individual behaviours
  • By the end of the workshop you will have an appreciation of whole systems approaches to physical activity and how to influence within and across the system