Strength messaging project

We’re working with Sport England and the Centre for Ageing Better to find ways to help your patients become stronger. Here’s an update of the project’s progress 

Strength messaging project

It’s widely recognised that physiotherapy workers have direct and trusted relationships with their patients and are considered – by their patients and other health professionals – to be the movement experts. For this project, we’ve spoken to people with long-term conditions (LTCs) and with CSP members to understand more about experiences, the barriers, perceived benefits and motivating factors to strengthening activities before and during lockdown.


  • motivating factors to strengthening activities before and during lockdown. 
  • Strongly believe strengthening to be important and understand the benefits 
    • 34% of adults aged over 55 don't meet the strengthening guidelines
    • 1 in 3 of these, cited their LTC as the reason for not undertaking these activities.
    • More than 15 million people in England live with at least one long-term condition
    • So far we've spoken to people with LTCs and CSP members to understand more about their experiences
  • Frequently provide strengthening advice to patients 
  • Willing messengers for this initiative 
  • Have mixed knowledge of guidelines and how useful they are  
  • Face challenges when offering advice including 

          - Low patient understanding/motivation 
          - Patient contact time
          - Lack of resources 

  • Report that sometimes contradictory advice from other HCPs can be a challenge. 

People with long-term conditions: 

  • Can confuse strengthening activities with moderate physical activity  
  • Desire to understand more about strengthening 
  • Find short-term benefits related to ‘doing more’ and ‘feeling better’ more motivating than longer-term medical benefits 
  • Finds their health condition inhibits activity or would deteriorate as a result. 


Members have shared that most patients are often receptive to advice during appointments, but then this is often ignored or not followed afterwards. 

  • People with LTCs are thought to be more motivated to do more strengthening activities if they: 

        - have experienced a sudden, traumatic health ‘event’  
        - are private patients (who may have proactively sought out physio support)
        - notice improvement in their condition   


  • The main barrier consistently shared by people with LTCs is that they don’t know enough about strengthening activities. 
  • People with LTCs find emotional barriers, including low mood and fear of embarrassment, most restricting 
  • Practical barriers including lack of time or low energy tend to be overlooked when giving strengthening advice 
  • Physio staff are often associated with short-term treatment of injury and recovery, with patients not looking to them for longer-term health, lifestyle and behavioural advice 


  • People with LTCs are inclined to respond to ‘feeling better’, emotional benefits related to mood, body image, self-esteem, socialising.  
  • More could be done to motivate people with LTCs by emphasising ‘feeling better’ benefits. 


  • Members would like to see more resources; increased appointment time; an inclusive/accessible initiative that raises widespread awareness 
  • People with LTCs would like to see an initiative they can relate to  
  • Both members and people with LTCs suggested that setting a specific, memorable target with tailored guidance would be most effective. 

Muscle strengthening activities should be done at least two days a week, but any strengthening activity is better than none.’ UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines, September 2019

Now we're working to identify a concept that will work best to support you and your patients.  To stay up to date with the project and be involved in the creative process visit Strength messaging project  


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