Get Moving; Keep Moving – The Allied Health Contribution

Keeping up the theme of physical activity we are republishing this blog from earlier in the summer. It focuses on how AHPs are contributing to the keep moving agenda. It is worth taking the time to review the AHP pledge around promoting physical activity. 


By Lynne Douglas (@LynneAHPD)

AHP Director NHS Lothian


It is nearly 3 years since the Allied Health Professions Directors Group in Scotland made a pledge to promote physical activity

Click here to read it.

The pledge was both to promote physical activity for AHP staff in our respective Health Boards and also to encourage patients to think about being active and include some physical activity in their day.

This was prompted by Dr Andrew Murray, the then Scottish Government physical activity lead, promoting physical activity for health & well being in Scotland. It is relatively under reported that the lack of physical activity in adult life is extremely bad for your health. 2,447 people in Scotland die prematurely from physical inactivity per year. 3% of the entire disease burden in developed countries is caused by physical inactivity

For adults, as little as 30 minutes of exercise per day is required to stay aerobically fit and healthy and accrue benefits from physical activity.

MOOC LogoIn children we should be encouraging 60 minutes of physical activity per day, for most, this is relatively easy as running around the playground, walking to school and structured games all add up to the required number of minutes. Exercise is the best gift you can give your child and should be encouraged by all.

After the AHP pledge was formally announced at the annual NHS Scotland event, we have continued to ask the question: what do you do to promote physical activity in your workforce and do you know what impact this may have on your teams’ productivity?

Sickness absence costs the UK economy between, £3.7 and £7 billion per year.  The impact of physical activity in the workforce is high. The physical activity task force (2003) estimated that physically active staff had 27% fewer days off per year.  If you are looking for ways to encourage staff to be active, consider playing 23 and 1/2 hours YouTube clip in staff canteens, reception and lounge areas. This is an amazingly engaging resource and one that I am sure your staff will not forget. Whatever your industry or profession take time to consider how you will fit 30 minutes of physical activity such as walking into your daily routine.

Encourage staff and visitors to climb the stairs instead of take the lift and consider your #getmoving strategy in your work environment.

The Allied Health Professional staff are and have been very well placed to provide leadership in this area. Many of our staff are active themselves and the therapy professions understand the impact of physical activity in helping people to get better and as part of keeping well.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 16.26.15

There are many organisations that are community based, willing to help people get started on physical activity and can signpost in your local area facilities and activities nearby. PAHA is one such group that springs to mind and can be accessed via the following link.

In the international obesity league tables Scotland’s population are 3rd behind Mexico and USA.  We collectively have a responsibility to promote physical activity, not only in in assisting with weight management, but also promoting physical activity as a lifestyle choice. Physical activity not only keeps you healthy but offers opportunities to socialize, is an excellent means to get from A to B and also just gives you energy to survive your day or play with your children.

My personal pledge to incorporate physical activity into my daily routine has resulted in several very enjoyable challenges. I have shared these journeys via twitter and had good support from colleagues. I ran the Edinburgh Marathon in 2013 to in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support following the death of my Aunt. I have also participated in three out of the last four 5×50 challenges. I am signed up for a Swimtrek in October of this year, which will include 2 swims per day off the coast of Majorca. The swims include a mixed range of distances, 1.5 to 4km in length and are all in the open water. I have completed a 25km Swimtrek holiday in the past and it was a fantastic experience.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 16.27.02Collectively the AHP’s in Scotland continue to promote physical activity, take part in amazing activities and ensure that the next generation of graduates in the Allied Health Professions carry forward this important message.

Many of us have also included get moving strategies at work including walking meetings, lunchtime walks and standing desks to promote well being.

Whatever your motivation ‘get moving and keep moving’ and inspire someone you know to take 30 minutes of physical activity today.


Dietitians Shaping the Future of Scotland’s health

We hope you’ve enjoyed our #DietitiansWeek blogs. If you want to hear hear more about the work of dietitians why not come along to our innovation event ‘Dietitians shaping the future of Scotland’s health’. The event will be held on Wednesday 14th September in Dunfermline. Booking is now open with early bird rates for the first 50 BDA Members. Registration starts from £45. Follow the link for more information and booking:


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