It's safer for people with long term conditions to be physically active.
"There has previously been some concern that long-term conditions could be made worse by physical activity. However, the evidence is that physical activity has an important role to play in preventing and treating many conditions and that, for most people with long-term conditions, the benefits outweigh the risks. This expert consensus, supported by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, will help healthcare professionals to have informed, personal conversations with their patients living with long-term conditions."
Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, Deputy Chief Medical Officer
The benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for most people with long term health conditions. However, the fear of increasing symptoms or worsening long term problems commonly stops people from moving more. Many healthcare professionals also feel unsure about what advice they should give to people living with symptomatic medical conditions. A major review of scientific evidence and expert clinical consensus has found physical activity is safe – even for people living with symptoms of multiple conditions.
The findings offer guidance for healthcare professionals that physical activity can be used to manage the majority of long-term health conditions.
There are five impact statements that make up the consensus:
- For people living with long-term conditions, the benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks and physical activity is safe, even for people living with symptoms of multiple long-term conditions
- Despite the risks of serious events being very low, perceived risk is high
- It's not as easy as just telling someone to move more; person-centred conversations are essential for addressing perceived risk
- Everybody has their own starting point
- People should stop and seek medical attention if they experience a dramatic increase in symptoms.
There are also eight symptom specific statements, to support healthcare professionals to have well informed personalised conversations with patients to effectively address concerns about the impact of increasing activity on their symptoms. These include; Musculoskeletal pain, Fatigue (NB), Shortness of breath, Cardiac chest pain, Palpitations, Dysglycaemia, (high or low blood sugar), Cognitive impairment, Falls and frailty to support conversations with patients.
Find out more about the consensus statement and resources to support healthcare professionals on the Moving Medicine Website.