A national conversation around making it easier for people with long-term health conditions to be more physically active is being launched this week by the National Centre for Sport & Exercise Medicine, Sheffield in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, Sport England and Public Health England.
The project, #EasierToBeActive, encourages individuals who have a passion for helping those with health conditions to become more active to participate in an online workshop between Monday 16 March and Tuesday 14 April. It aims to improve the experience of people with health conditions to access sport and physical activity opportunities.
The project team is seeking to hear from individuals who have lived-experiences of long-term conditions, as well as sport and exercise professionals; fitness instructors; coaches; health and social care professionals; volunteers; and peer supporters.
Physical inactivity remains one of the top ten causes of disease and disability in England and is responsible for one-in-six deaths in the UK – the same number as smoking. A third of adults live with a long-term health condition and are twice as likely to be inactive.
The #EasierToBeActive conversation will help shape the national approach to designing and delivering services which make it easier for everyone to be more active.
A long-term condition is classed as an illness that cannot be cured but can usually be controlled with medicines or other treatments. Examples include arthritis, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, angina, heart failure and high blood pressure (hypertension).
The project is being delivered through a partnership between Sheffield Hallam’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC) and National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM), Sport England, Public Health England and Clever Together.
Dr Anna Lowe, programme manager for the NCSEM Sheffield, said: “We are really excited to be leading this project. It is an opportunity to engage with people right across the physical activity sector to co-produce guidance that will get the system working better for people with health conditions so that, ultimately, it’s easier to get active and stay active.”
Sarah Ruane, Sport England, said: “The #EasierToBeActive consultation is going to allow people with long-term health conditions – and those that support them in the healthcare and physical activity sectors – to contribute to a conversation about what barriers need to be broken down to help make it easier for people to move more.
“We’re proud to be part of this important project. The learnings could make a vital difference to people commissioning and designing physical activity services, to coaches and fitness instructors, and to healthcare professionals who support those with long term health conditions.”
Dr Michael Brannan, National Lead for Physical Activity at Public Health England, said: “People with a long-term health condition are twice as likely to be amongst the least active, doing less than 30 minutes activity over a week.
“Regular activity cannot only help manage many health conditions, but also has wider health and wellbeing benefits, such as improving your mood, making everyday activities easier and spending time with family, friends and other people.
“It’s never too late to get more active and this project will help remove barriers to being active with a health condition, helping improve health and reduce inequalities.”
The Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, which officially opened in January, is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of the population through innovations that help people move.
It is the most advanced research and development centre for health and physical activity in the world, with a mission to prevent and treat chronic disease through co-designed research into physical activity.
To take part in the #EasierToBeActive conversation, please visit https://easiertobeactive.clevertogether.com/welcome-and-register