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Workout at work

Celebrate a move for health initiative with some healthy exercise, says the CSP.  Janet Wright reports

Could you enthuse office staff to take a lunchtime walk, or create a fitness challenge for workplace teams?

This year, the CSP is celebrating World Physical Therapy Day on 8 September as ‘Workout at Work Day(WOWD). Members are being encouraged to spread the word about the benefits of getting active.

The idea is for physios to mark the day by arranging an activity, within their scope of practice. It could be as simple as a talk with tips on building activity into the working day. Or you could help workplace teams devise fitness targets, or lead a session in an outdoor gym.

You can make the activity inclusive by, for example, including seated exercises for workers with mobility problems.

Workout at Work Day is part of the CSP’s Move for Health programme, which promotes physical activity. Getting active at work can help  combat the health-sapping effects of a sedentary job.

Working closely with the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics ( ACPOHE), the CSP is building on the progress made by the society’s Fit for Work initiative last year. This highlighted the benefits of a healthier workforce to employers as well as to staff. These include higher morale, increased productivity and reduced sick leave.

‘It’s really fitting that the CSP has chosen to celebrate 2011 World Physical Therapy Day with its first Workout at Work Day,’ says CSP professional adviser Helen Bristow. ‘Our Move for Health programme fits well with the World Confederation for Physical Therapy’s aspiration for physical therapists to implement effective strategies for exercise for the increasing numbers of people leading sedentary lifestyles.’

Physios can benefit from taking part, too. Physiotherapy is already well-known for treating injuries and aiding rehabilitation. But WOWD aims to highlight the positive contribution of physiotherapy to preventing injuries and maintaining everyday health and well-being.

The proposed NHS commissioning arrangements in England are intended to give the public more say in what services are available.  A WOWD event is an opportunity to put physiotherapy in the forefront of people’s minds. It could also promote physiotherapy to new audiences, reaching new contacts and potential patients.

The CSP is producing a pack and publicity materials to help members set up events for employers in their area.

If you’re working in a busy department, your efforts may be needed closer at hand. Do you see tired colleagues slumped at their desks or working through lunch-hours? In a pressured health service, it’s not always easy to practise what you preach. But never has it been more essential to look after yourself as well as your patients.

So why not arrange an activity that could be fun and sociable too? Those working in a hospital, for example, could enjoy a walk together in the grounds.

If you’re in the NHS in England, you could make Work out at Work day part of the NHS 2012 challenge, which aims to get more NHS staff involved in physical activity by the time the Olympics and Paralympics start next year. The idea is to feel inspired by the athletes: not to break records but to get some healthy benefits.

Organising an activity provides numerous opportunities for professional development. Not only does the event provide a valuable addition to your CV, it also gives you a chance to develop the skills used in your physiotherapy practice.

You could use the opportunity to demonstrate development of some of the skills listed in the CSP’s Physiotherapy Framework. For example:

  • decision-making (planning the event)
  • communicating (with different audiences including the media, local employers and their employees)
  • managing yourself and others (event organisation, delegating tasks, taking overall responsibility for making it happen)
  • promoting integration and teamworking (persuading people to join in).

Crucially too, it allows you a chance to reflect on the experience: what you planned, what actually happened, and what lessons you’ve learned that could be used in your professional practice. fl

Find out more about Workout at Work Day and register for the member pack.

Alternatively, contact the PR team at or on 020 7306 1111.

Or visit the CSP press table at the ACPOHE conference in Nottingham on 20–21 June; see

How to use this article towards your cpd

Communication is vital to physiotherapy practice, yet is something we often take for granted or find hard to demonstrate.

Workout at Work Day (WOWD) could be an exciting opportunity to use, develop and demonstrate your communication skills – whether you’re leading the team organising the event, or just turning up to participate on the day.

The activity described below has two main parts. The first is designed to help you critically evaluate and record your existing communication skills – using the descriptors from the CSP’s Physiotherapy Framework.

The second invites you to explore how they could be used and developed by WOWD. 

Some of the skills and behaviours that relate to the ‘communicating’ domain of the Physiotherapy Framework (on a pilot website at are listed below).

The exercise

Part one: start by rating your ability for each skill or behaviour below (where 0=not developed, to 5=well developed).

For each statement, make a note of any practical evidence that supports what you’ve said. Adding evidence to support a statement can be a really positive way of tracking development over time. It gives you something from the past to compare with your current situation.

I can:

  • Present ideas orally to an audience (such as discussing a case, presenting a lecture or leading an in-service training)
  • Construct and share information and ideas with people on a 1:1 basis (such as working with a client or colleague)
  • Hear and actively process messages without undue blocking through prejudice and assumption (such as listening to a client’s opinions or  constructive criticism)
  • Write clearly and in a style appropriate to purpose (such as information leaflets, progress reports, published articles)
  • Represent an idea or information in a visual format (such as flowcharts, images, mind-maps)
  • Use commonly available ICT (such as word-processing, spreadsheets and presentation software) to communicate ideas and information to


  • Relate to people at all levels and demonstrate sensitivity to individuals’ values and needs
  • Modify my communication style to help people understand my message and to contribute their ideas
  • Give constructive feedback

Part two:

  • Now look at your scores and evidence. Think about those statements with lower scores. Make a note of those that WOWD could help you develop.


  • Use this analysis to help you think about the personal benefits of participating in WOWD, and to plan how you could use it to support your CPD.

You can find a copy of this exercise on the CSP’s CPD webfolio – so you can complete it online and save it to your ePortfolio. Or you can download it as a Word document and save it on your computer or as a printed copy in a paper portfolio.

Please visit for information to help you find and open the CPD webfolio.

Gwyn Owen CSP professional adviser - CPD

Get involved on 8 September: Here’s how

To help you set up a Workout at Work event in your area, the society’s member pack, available on our website, will provide ideas for activities, along with a template letter explaining WOWD to the employer. The pack will include tips on how to publicise your event through local media, and important information on liability issues.

Members who register will also receive 50 free ‘Fit for work’ leaflets to give out.


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