Non Treatment Physical Activity Promotion In Physio Practice


Most people do not achieve a healthy amount of physical activity (PA). They are instead prone to sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity. This can lead to chronic disease.

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

Recent research has demonstrated that non-treatment physical activity (NTPA) interventions can increase patient PA 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 PA over a patient’s other problems.
  • Feeling like 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 PA 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 PA 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 perfect form 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.