Non Treatment Physical Activity Promotion In Physio Practice


Staying active regularly is essential for good physical and mental health and wellbeing. This is true no matter how young or old you are. But the amount of activity varies, depending on your age. Unfortunately, many Australians are not  achieving a healthy amount of physical activity. They are instead prone to more sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity. These changes have come upon us gradually, almost unnoticed, with advances in technology. Yet the human body was designed to move. Through hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, humans have been active in the process of survival-hunting, gathering or farming food.

Recent research has shown that even the most inactive or sedentary people can gain health benefits if they become even slightly more active. Based on these findings, governments around the world have now identified increased physical activity as a priority in improving the health of their populations.


Being active helps you stay physically and mentally healthy – the more active you are, the more you benefit.For adults, being active regularly can:

It therefore becomes the goal of physios to promote physical activity during sessions. Physical activity is promoted with the intention of improving a patient’s general health as a foundation of their physio treatment. Physical activity had tremendous benefits in reducing blood pressure, alleviating chronic conditions and other health issues. It’s therefore important that physical activity health promotion be undertaken by physios in practice.

Recommendations for exercise

Adults should be active most days, preferably every day. Each week, adults should do either:

  • 5 to 5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity – such as a brisk walk, golf, mowing the lawn or swimming
  • 25 to 2.5 hours of vigorous intensity physical activity – such as jogging, aerobics, fast cycling, soccer or netball
  • an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous activities.

Recent research has demonstrated that non-treatment physical activity (NTPA) interventions can increase patient physical activity levels in the short term. Despite short term effects, Australian physio practice continues to successfully prescribe NTPA. Physios are generally influenced by a range of factors to do so.

Why Do Physios Promote Physical Activity?

Physios with certain characteristics are likely to promote NTPA compared with those without said characteristics. These characteristics include:

  • Retaining the knowledge to promote NTPA.
  • Promoting physical activity” over a patient’s other problems.
  • Feeling like the prescription of NTPA was compatible with regular operation of their practice.
  • Integrating effective physical activity levels in their own life.
  • Working in a clinic that advertises NTPA, like dance classes, tends to make prescription of physical activity easier in session.

Research has noted that the use of additional behavioural change techniques would result in better long term client physical activity levels. This is because physios typically use less behavioural change techniques in a clinical setting than they do elsewhere.

What Are Behavioural Change Techniques?

Behavioural change techniques are used to instil in patients the importance of increasing physical activity. The most common behavioural change technique used by physios is graded tasks. Graded tasks are activities that last a certain duration which is then extended on a daily/weekly basis. For example, walking for five minutes one week and then ten minutes the next.

Social rewards and reward approximations are other behavioural change techniques also used by physios. They are performed with the intention of anchoring a positive association when a client achieves or almost achieves a goal. By saying “congratulations” at the end or near the end of a task, a physio rewards the patient. This motivates them to continue increasing their participation in physical activity.

Despite the complex sounding nature of behavioural change techniques, most physios do not have an education in psychology. However, they can still use behavioural change techniques without it. Physios are instead influenced to promote physical activity via behavioural change techniques for a number of reasons.

The Future of Physical Activity Promotion

Improving physio’s knowledge is crucial to increasing promotion of NTPA in Australia. Physios also need to be empowered to promote NTPA. Empowerment may result from advertising physical activity recommendations as a service. This is because advertising can make non-treatment physical activity guidelines more compatible with traditional physio practice.

Call us at Erko Physio today to book an appointment to discuss your exercise regimen. Our highly qualified and experienced team will be happy to see you when available. They’ll discuss what you can do to return to healthy living  and keep chronic disease at bay. We’ll work with you to develop a structured exercise plan that suits your schedule and gets you fit in no time.

We operate Monday to Friday between 7:00am and 8:00pm, so don’t delay, call us today.