Talk about strength with your patients, CSP urges

People living with long-term conditions have low awareness of the benefits of strengthening and fear it may make their symptoms worse, but they do recognise the role physiotherapy staff have in increasing participation, a new report from the CSP reveals.

Lady in wheelchair doing some gardening

The report details the findings of a major 15-month project, funded by Sport England and the Centre for Ageing Better, which involved multiple rounds of conversations with people living with long-term conditions, as well as CSP members from across the physiotherapy workforce.

The findings set out the beliefs, barriers and motivations of people living with long-term conditions when it comes to strengthening, and contains key recommendations about effective messaging on the issue to that cohort.

Above all, the report demonstrates the need for physiotherapy staff and other healthcare workers to discuss strengthening with patients in the same way they would talk with them about the broader benefits of being active.

Use the findings to inform your consultations


Strengthening is sometimes referred to as ‘the forgotten guideline’ in comparison to the far better known national recommendation that adults should do 150 minutes of moderate activity each week.

Sara Hazzard, the CSP’s assistant director for strategic communications, felt the report could help close that gap and urged members to review the findings.

‘This is a report full of rich insight into the daily experiences of people living with long-term conditions and how those circumstances influence their beliefs and openness to doing strengthening on a more regular basis.

‘We know the benefits of doing it, and it was encouraging to see how trusted physiotherapy staff were as a source of advice, but it’s vitally important that members use the findings to inform their consultations.

This is especially important after the events of the past year, which will have caused millions of people to decondition while in lockdown, shielding or simply less active than they would otherwise have been

CSP to host ‘strength summit’

To coincide with the launch of the report, the CSP is hosting a ‘strength summit’ with key stakeholders from across healthcare to discuss ways to disseminate and implement the key findings.

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