BEST INVESTMENTS FOR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY- WHAT WORKS

What works in promoting physical activity?  I’ve been part of a group at the University of Edinburgh, and the International Society for Physical Activity and Health who have distilled this hugely important message down into an infographic.  Whether you are a member of the public, or press, please share widely!

7-best-investments-for-physical-activity
The key health challenge of encouraging people around the world to be more active could be addressed with a series of ideas outlined in a new report.

More space to exercise, less reliance on cars and better support from healthcare services are all highlighted in the plan, which was presented at a World Health Organisation event this weekend.

The study, by researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the International Society for Physical Activity for Health, identifies seven areas that require investment by governments and communities in order to improve levels of physical activity.

The findings could help policy makers meet WHO targets to reduce inactivity levels around the world by 10 per cent by 2025.

Greater availability of physical activity space is cited in the strategy as a key driver for global health improvement.

The plan, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, also underlines the importance of adapting transport structures to support the WHO targets. It calls on local and national authorities to prioritise walking, cycling and public transport.

Researchers also claim that physical activity advice should be more freely available from national healthcare services.

The plan identifies areas of investment that could increase levels of physical activity when applied at local, national and international levels.

These include support for programmes that promote sport for all and encourage participation across age-groups and effective communication of key messages.

Researchers assert that if the health of nations is to improve and levels of physical activity are to rise, then greater investment is needed in these areas.

Dr Andrew Murray from Edinburgh’s Physical Activity for Health Research Centre said: “Physical inactivity may well be the fundamental public health challenge of our age. Despite compelling evidence on the health benefits of physical activity, the combination of increasing mechanisation, digitisation, and urbanisation continues to inexorably squeeze essential physical activity out of our daily lives.”

“Our study distils the key messages and expert advice into bite-size chunks that will help people and policy makers get more people more active, more often. This will contribute to increased longevity and better health that regular physical activity brings.”

The seven-point plan was presented at the sixth International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health in Bangkok. The event is co-hosted by the World Health Organization and the International Society for Physical Activity and Health.

Co-author of the study and President of the ISPAH, Prof Fiona Bull said: “The infographic published with the report presents an easy at-a-glance outline of the seven areas in which governments should be focussing their efforts and investment to increase physical activity. Too many national plans are sitting on shelves and are not being funded. It is time to take the global issue of physical inactivity much more seriously.”

The plan builds upon the ISPAH 2010 Toronto Charter for Physical Activity, which calls for all countries, regions and communities to strive for greater political and social commitment to support physical activity for all.

For further information, please contact:
Andrew Moffat, Press and PR Office, Tel +44 131 650 9836, Email andrew.moffat@ed.ac.uk

Fiona Bull, International Society for Physical Activity and Health, Email fiona.bull@uwa.edu.au

The full report can be found here: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2016/11/01/bjsports-2016-096999.full

The original report this builds on (which is a must read) is here

http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/46/10/709.full

 

GOLF AND HEALTH

A prevailing interest of mine has always been promoting exercise for health.  Partly in an effort to get better at conducting research, and partly out of curiosity I decided to do a PhD looking at golf and health.

The first part of this was to see what was out there- by doing a scoping review.  We found 5000 odd papers that were vaguely relevant and 301 that were very relevant. We have pulled this information together, and have been fortunate to secure publication in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the number 1 ranked sports science and sports medicine journal worldwide.

Links to our findings are shown in the infographic below, with the original publications here

The bottom line is that as with physical activitiy in general, the best evidence we have highlights golf is good for health, and can be played across the lifespan.  There are physical health, wellness, and likely longevity benefits.

The papers are part of the Golf and Health project with the World Golf Foundation.  We will publish results whether they are good, bad or indifferent.  So far over 100 press articles have featured the scoping review, while we are honoured to have player ambassadors that have won over 30 major titles, and 350 overall titles between them, including Gary Player, Annika Sorenstam, Padraig Harrington, Brooke Henderson, Zach Johnson, SO Yeon Ryu, Ryann O’Toole and Aaron Baddeley.

Infographic.  Golf and Health.

Infographic. Golf and Health.

This information, and much more is being curated into a website www.golfandhealth.org  – please do check it out.

I am learning about research every day.  The expertise from my supervisors Prof Nanette Mutrie, Liz Grant, Paul Kelly, and Roger Hawkes has been absolutely superb, while Aston Ward, Steve Mona, Steffan Griffen and our fantastic ambassadors are doing a terrific job of sharing findings widely- in fact so good that a UK parliament early day motion was passed, welcoming the research.St Andrews.  The home of golf.

NEW WORK AHEAD

From February 2012 to February 2013 I worked full time pretty much for the Scottish Government as their Physical Activity Champion – I also did some work for London 2012 and others, but my focus was definitely Physical Activity. With Ministers, and our Chief medical Officer leading the charge, we got a lot done. Physical Activity for health is now a much higher priority in Scotland, at National, Local, and Community level.

The reasons for this are obvious – getting people more active saves lives, prevents disease, improves quality of life and saves the taxpayer about £800 million in Scotland. So it’s great to see this high up on the agenda, and great to pass on the role of Physical Activity Champion to Dr David White – no better man.

Here is a fun infographic that can be used freely:
30 Minutes of Exercise – The Key to a Happier Health

I’ll carry on looking to promote physical activity for health in any way I can, but this year my full time work is concluding SEM training, working in sport, with Scottish Rugby, Scottish Institute of Sport, The European Tour Golf, and UK Athletics.

The next 6 weeks will be concentrated on the 6 Nations campaign with Scottish Rugby, working with National Team Doctor, and British Lions doc James Robson. It will also involve work with Edinburgh Rugby, and it will be great to learn from the likes of James, and contribute to the mix.

The Scottish Institute of Sport is another place I’ll be lucky to work, with Dr Brian Walker, and Niall Elliot, working with the performance athletes in Scotland.

Additionally, I’m doing 9 tournaments for the European Tour and Challenge Tour Golf, which will come together to give me a great breadth of experience moving forward

It promises to be an intense, but fantastic year.