HELP YOUR CLIENTS GET ACTIVE
32.3% of Canadians with a disability visit a physician at least once a month (if a disability is involved, then over 50% visit a physician at least once a month). In addition, individuals who see their doctor regularly are 54% more likely to be physically active.
However, only 11% of Canadian physicians refer their patients for physical activity assessments and programs.
A key barrier to participation is a perceived lack of information on how to be active with a disability.
People with a disability want to receive information from credible sources. Health care providers are one of the two most valued sources of physical activity information for persons with a disability. Healthcare professionals are encouraged to access published resources for sport-specific and condition-specific guidelines regarding the participation of childr en with a disability in sports and physical activities. There are 3 simple steps you can take towards helping your patient lead a healthy and active lifestyle.
 Federal Disability Report, 2010; Weidinger et al. 2008; Petrella et al. 2007; Faulkner et al. 2010  Faulkner et al., 2010  Minneapolis MN; The McGraw-Hill Companies 2005; Murphy et al. 200
1. TALK ABOUT IT – by talking about physical activity, you have already taken the first step in becoming an advocate for your clients/patients!
To become effective advocates for physical activity and sport, you should have an open and honest discussion with your patients about physical activity:
- Focus on what your client CAN do! – consider possibilities and share your passion, information and recommendations with patients, colleagues, families etc.
- Understand the benefits of participation in physical activity and sport for all persons with a disability
- Advocate that a disability is NOT a barrier to participation – while barriers do exist, you should encourage participation for all individuals
||How to Address These Barriers
|Worries about negative outcomes
||Provide realistic information on the risk of pain or injury; remind the patient that there are activities for all abilities. Discuss the benefits of physical activity on physical and psychological health, as well as the risks of inactivity.
|Lack of confidence
||Reinforce what the patient CAN do; schedule/attend a local "Have a Go" session; help the patient set realistic goals adn remind them that opportunities exist for all levels of ability and involvement.
|Lack of social support
||Encourage the patient's family members to get involved; reinforce that sport is a great opportunity to make friends.
|Lack of informational resources
||Direct the patient to local and national resources to help them get involved!
2. PRESCRIBE IT - PRESCRIBE physical activity based on published guidelines
See the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology for more information
Ask your patient: Are you doing any physical activity?
3. FOLLOW UP - provide support and keep asking questions on their participation and involvement in follow up appointments.
“I was told by my physio when I was in rehab: ‘If you're not falling out of your chair once a day, you're not trying hard enough’. She let me know that I wasn’t fragile or going to get more broken… I could still get bumped and bruised and take a fall like I used to.”
- Chris, Alpine skiing, water skiing, triathlon