Physical activity swim resources and CMO guidelines

Swimming with arthritis

Versus Arthritis has partnered up with Swim England to create a new fact sheet on swimming and aquatic activity for people with musculoskeletal conditions.

The fact sheet highlights the benefits of swimming and aquatic activity for people who may struggle to be active due to pain, low mobility or physical function. It includes information about the range of activities that can be done in water and some tips to consider before getting started. The web page also includes a pool finder for people to find their local swimming facilities.

Exercising in water helps support the weight of the body, reducing the strain on the painful joints. The water provides resistance to work against, which can help strengthen muscles. In addition, there are benefits to conditions that can be associated with musculoskeletal conditions, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

For many, water-based activity is the best form of exercise because it is controlled and places little pressure on joints. Matt Martin, Swim England Health and Wellbeing Officer, lives with ankylosing spondylitis and explains:

“The only sport I could do as a teenager was swimming and I found this was a great way to relieve symptoms, as the water allows my joints to be more flexible and pain free. I hope that through this fact sheet, other resources and support, we can spread the word far and wide and help more people with these conditions to realise the benefits.”

Take a look at the fact sheet and share it with your patients with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. A water-based activity may be a great introduction for them to become active. For any patients awaiting surgery they may find the Swimming and Aquatic Activity Before and After Surgery fact sheet useful.

Swim England and the RCGP have also developed a new short video for healthcare professionals about how water-based activity can help patients with different health conditions. Take a look at the video ‘Swimming as Medicine’.

Chief Medical Officer’s Physical activity guidelines: a strategic communications framework

On behalf of the UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) and the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), Public Health Scotland has developed and launched a strategic communications framework to aid the UK Home Nations in increasing the awareness and application of the UK CMO Physical Activity Guidelines amongst key practitioners, professionals, and decision makers. This can be found on the UK Government website UK Chief Medical Officers' Physical Activity Guidelines Communications Framework.

The communications framework provides guidance for the UK and devolved government administrations on how to communicate the UK CMOs’ Physical Activity Guidelines to key professionals and practitioners who are required to know, understand, and apply the guidelines in practice.

The framework also recognises the role of system enablers – those in peripheral positions who can support policy and infrastructure developments that enable the guidelines to be implemented.