A recent pilot study has shed light on a pressing issue – physical inactivity among adults. As many adults fail to meet recommended physical activity guidelines, researchers from the University of Canberra and QUT sought to explore a potential solution: the gentle involvement of physiotherapists. This study investigated whether frequent physical activity measurement and very brief advice provided by physiotherapists could positively impact physical activity levels in insufficiently active adults in Australia. In this article, we’ll break down how the study was conducted and what it means for practising physical therapists.
The study followed a randomised controlled trial design, dividing participants into two groups: lower-measurement-frequency (LMF) and higher-measurement-frequency (HMF). Eligible participants were aged between 18 and 64 years, insufficiently active, and had no medical conditions limiting moderate physical activity. The HMF group underwent physical activity measurements at baseline, week 6, 12, and 18, while the LMF group had measurements only at baseline and week 18.
Physiotherapists provided very brief advice on physical activity at each assessment, emphasising guidelines and safety. Objective physical activity levels were measured using accelerometers, and various adjacent health-related outcomes were assessed.
The study involved forty participants who completed the 18-week trial. At the end of the 18 weeks, the HMF group displayed a trend towards increased objectively measured physical activity results compared to the LMF group. Both groups experienced significant improvements in aerobic fitness, while the HMF group also showed reductions in waist circumference and diastolic blood pressure. Additionally, the quality of life related to independent living improved in the HMF group.
The findings suggest that more frequent assessment with very brief advice from physiotherapists may offer a viable strategy to increase physical activity adherence in adults, and may be a great strategy for physical therapists to employ in their practices.
One great way to speed up consultation times while still providing quality assessments is with AxIT. AxIT is the wireless strength testing suite that provides physical therapists with objective data on the strength of any muscle in their patient’s body – all in one clear and readable dashboard on the device of your choice. Head over to https://go.strengthbynumbers.com/home now to learn everything you need to know about how AxIT can benefit your practice.