Physical activity e-learning course

Health Education England | September 2019| New e-learning programme to champion physical activity for patients launched

A new physical activity e-learning course has been designed by Health Education England, alongside Public Health England and Sport England, to help healthcare professionals to champion physical activity with patients.


This e-learning course prepares GPs, nurses and other healthcare professionals to champion the benefits of physical activity with their patients and, in doing so, help prevent and manage a range of common physical and mental health conditions

The course includes:

  • Motivational Interviewing [‘how to’ video]
  • A guide to “Promoting Physical Activity in Primary Care” 

It also gives a comprehensive guide to the use of physical activity in the clinical management of long-term conditions including: cancer, cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, musculoskeletal health and mental health.

Full details from HEE e-LfH

Boost strength and balance, says new exercise guidance

UK Chief Medical Officers  | September 2019|  UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical
Activity Guidelines 

The Government has published new exercise guidance-UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines- while the guidelines are broadly consistent with previous guidance, they allow for some flexibility in achieving the recommended levels of  physical activity for each group. For the first time the publication includes guidance for pregnant women new mums, and emphasises that activity does not need to be in ten minute bursts.


This report emphasis the importance of regular activity for people of all ages, and for disabled adults.
It also underlines the importance of all age groups participating in a range of different activities.

The new guidelines reinforce the importance of strengthening exercises both for all age groups and highlight the additional benefit of balance and flexibility exercises for
older adults.

The guidelines follow a life course approach with a chapter dedicated to each age group (under-5s, Children and Young people (5-18 years), Adults (19-64 years), and Older Adults (65+ ) (Source: UK Chief Medical Officers).

UK Chief Medical Officers’ press release here 

UK Chief Medical Officers’ Physical Activity Guidelines 

In the news:

OnMedica  Boost strength and balance, says new exercise guidance

Guardian  Even a few minutes’ exercise is good for you, new guidelines state

The Telegraph  No such thing as too little exercise, says Chief Medical Officer, as ten minute minimum is scrapped

BBC News  Strengthen muscles as well as heart to stay fit and healthy, say top doctors

10000 steps a day is a myth, reports JAMA study

Abbasi J. For Mortality, Busting the Myth of 10 000 Steps per Day|  JAMA |2019322(6):492–493. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.10042

JAMA has published the findings of an observational study that followed more than 6 000 women with an average age of 72 years wore accelerometers during their waking hours. Researchers collected data from the devices on step volume and intensity over 4 to 7 days. The women were divided into 4 groups from low to high, based on how much they walked. The researchers then tracked how many women died in each group over an average of 4 years of follow-up.

For many older people, reaching the target of 10 000 steps every day can feel daunting, and this may discourage them from walking more.

Equally, there may be no scientific basis for the widely used number. Its likely origin: the brand name of a Japanese pedometer sold in 1960s called Manpo-kei, or “10 000 steps meter.”


What the study showed:

  • On average the majority of the participants took 4400 daily steps,
  • Women who averaged approximately 4400 daily steps had lower mortality rates than those who took about 2700 steps a day.

  • There were additional declines in mortality among women who hoofed it more—but only up to about 7500 daily steps, beyond which the death rates leveled out.

  • Walking faster or slower didn’t appear to affect mortality rates when the number of steps was factored in.

  • The study’s lead author, I-Min Lee, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, the results likely apply to all individuals who are not very active, including men and younger women.
  • Lee told JAMA:

    “Step more—even a modest number of steps is associated with lower mortality.” And, she added, “all steps count,” not just those taken during exercise. If you already get 10 000 steps or more per day, don’t lower your goal. “There is no harm, and there may be additional benefits for outcomes not studied,” Lee said, like quality of life, physical function, and cognition. “We are continuing to follow the women in our study and hope to report on other outcomes in the future.” I-Min Lee

    (Source: JAMA)

The full article is available to read from JAMA; Athens login required

Alternatively, the Library  is able to provide a copy of this article

Physical Activity and Lifestyle Toolkit

Royal College of General Practitioners | August 2019| Physical Activity and Lifestyle Toolkit

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) in partnership with Sport England have designed a toolkit to be used by primary care professionals in the UK. Any health professional concerned about their own activity levels may find the toolkit useful.
Image source:

The toolkit is available to read online


RCGP Active Practice Charter

School Sport and Activity Action Plan

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Department for Education, Department of Health and Social Care Mims Davies MP, The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP, and Seema Kennedy MP| July 2019| New plan to help children get active 

The Government have announced their School Sport and Activity Action Plan to provide children with more opportunities to access and participate in 60 minutes of daily sport and physical activity, whether that be in school, after school or during weekends and holidays. 


As part of the Plan schools will be urged to recognise how physical literacy and high-quality, modern PE lessons can benefit other aspects of school life and improve pupils’ behaviour, wellbeing and attainment. They will also be encouraged to use sports leaders and mentoring schemes to ensure pupils have a say in developing their schools’ sports offer. Schools will be encouraged to offer a range of activities that appeal to young people from different backgrounds, including girls and less active groups.

More detail on the actions in the plan will be published later this year (Source: Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport et al.).

Read the press release in full  Children to have greater opportunity to access 60 minutes of physical activity every day

See also:

Sport England New plan to help children get active

Physical activity helps children to deal with life’s challenges

Public Health England, Disney UK and Sport England launch new Change4Life campaign to inspire children to get more active | via Public Health England


Evidence shows that children and young people who are more active have more confidence, higher self-esteem, less anxiety and stress and better social skills – attributes that can help them deal with the challenges they face in daily life. Positive attitudes towards physical activity have also been associated with children being happier.

The UK Chief Medical Officers recommend that children do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, yet just 20% of boys and even fewer girls (14%), are meeting this target, despite 95% of children saying that they enjoy being active.

A new campaign is encouraging children to play 10 Minute Shake Up games inspired by favourite characters.  The campaign has also launched a new online quiz to help children, with their parents, find activities and sports to try.

For more information, see 10 Minute Shake Up games

Interventions to increase physical activity

This report brings together recent evidence on ways to influence physical activity behaviours in individuals and populations | National Institute for Health Research

Being active matters because it is an important way of staying healthy. We know that people can reduce their risk of many serious diseases by staying physically active. Activity is also important for mental well-being and keeping socially connected. Finding enjoyable ways to be active can benefit people in so many ways. But it is often hard for people to start and keep the habit of regular activity. Around a quarter of people are inactive and less than two thirds meet recommended activity levels. We need to know more about what works in getting people active and sustaining this, particularly for those who are least active now.

Image source:

This review focuses on National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)-funded research evaluating interventions to increase physical activity for individuals and populations. This features over 50 published and ongoing studies. Evaluations range from programmes in schools and communities to changes in transport and the environment, which are designed to promote greater activity.

Full document: Moving Matters: Interventions to increase physical activity