We Are Undefeatable: inspiring people with long-term conditions to be more active
4 September 2019 | Suzanne Gardner
For the first time ever, 15 leading health and social care charities have come together to launch a national campaign and movement to inspire and support people with long-term health conditions to be active.
Over 1 in 4 people now living with at least one long-term health condition and the numbers are rising. People with health conditions are twice as likely to be inactive[i] despite the compelling evidence for the role of physical activity in the prevention and management of long-term conditions.
Nurses working in the community know that moving more can help to manage over 20 long-term conditions such as depression and type 2 diabetes; it reduces the risk of developing some conditions by up to 40% and can delay the onset of and reduce the severity of many long-term health conditions[ii]. Even small amounts of regular physical activity all add up and can improve the health and wellbeing of your patients.
We Are Undefeatable
The campaign ‘We Are Undefeatable’ aims to support people living with health conditions to build physical activity into their lives, in a way that their condition allows, and to celebrate every victory big or small. It is inspired by, and features, the real-life experiences of people with long-term health conditions getting active despite the ups, downs and unpredictability of their condition.
‘We Are Undefeatable’ will feature in England on TV, radio, and online boosted by 15 health and social care charities. It also has a dedicated website and social media channels to provide inspiration, reassurance and support.
The charities behind the campaign include: Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Asthma UK, Breast Cancer Care Breast Cancer Now, British Lung Foundation, British Red Cross, Diabetes UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Mind, MS Society, Parkinson’s UK, Rethink Mental Illness, Royal Voluntary Service, Stroke Association and Versus Arthritis. The collaboration is backed by National Lottery funding from Sport England, the organisation behind the award-winning ‘This Girl Can’ campaign.
The Queen’s Nursing Institute warmly welcomes the ‘We Are Undefeatable’ campaign. Community nurses have a huge role to play in encouraging people living with long term health conditions to increase their activity levels. People can lose confidence and motivation when living with serious illnesses and support from specialist nurses in the community, working with family and carers, is vital in helping them to manage their health and improve physical and emotional resilience.Dr Crystal Oldman CBE, Chief Executive
Campaign Resources for Healthcare Professionals
1 in 4 patients say that they would be more active if advised by a GP or nurse[iii] and as such healthcare professionals, especially community nurses play an important role in supporting patients to get active.
If you are based in a GP Practice, keep an eye out for the campaign activation packs, endorsed by the Royal College of GPs, that are being sent out to every GP Practice and Community Pharmacy in England from the 19th August. They include:
- An activation brief providing details about the campaign and links to resources to support you have physical activity conversations with patients.
- A4 posters for the campaign
- 100 conversation starters and a dispenser for these for use in waiting or treatment rooms.
- Access to a campaign film for use on waiting room screens
- Social media content.
Alternatively, you can also access copies of these resources through the Public Health England Resource Centre for when you are out and about or if you are not based within a GP Practice.
Want to get involved?
Be aware of the campaign and be prepared for patients to want to speak about increasing their activity levels when you are having appointments and clinics. Offer support and advice, as appropriate, using the campaign and other resources to help them get active in a way that is right for them. You can also to get involved in social media conversations using hashtag #WeAreUndefeatable.
Need some help?
Having the knowledge and confidence to discuss physical activity is an often-cited barrier to having these types of conversations with patients. A range of resources have been developed to help you with this:
- The campaign conversation starter can help you to provide some initial quick advice about moving more during conversations with patients.
- Use the Chief Medical Officers infographics for physical activity. and the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine’s Moving Medicine platform to help you have physical activity conversations with your patients. This can be as simple as using the 1-minute conversation tools to help you provide physical activity brief advice or have longer conversations that explore motivations, barriers and health conditions where time allows.
- Access face to face training on physical activity and providing brief advice by attending PHE and Sport England’s Clinical Champion Training. Contact the Moving Healthcare professionals team at [email protected] to find out when local training is planned or to set up a session for you and your colleagues. Over 22,000 Healthcare Professionals have benefited from this to date.
- Learn more about physical activity’s impact on the prevention and treatment of long term conditions by using the Royal College of GPs Physical Activity and Lifestyle Toolkit and accessing the E-learning for health physical activity modules available on Health Education England’s website.
- Celebrate what you are doing to support patients to get active by signing up to gain accreditation through the Royal College of GP’s Active Practice Charter. You can also access tips and further ideas of what you can do to increase physical activity in your colleagues and patients.
- Find out more about local opportunities for patients and staff to get active by contacting your local Active Partnership or Local Authority. Active Partnerships understand the ‘local physical activity for health systems’ and can help you to get the most from the campaign and sign post you to relevant organisations that can help.
Want to feel inspired?
Check out the campaign website and watch the campaign advert along with the individual emotional stories of men and women living with a variety of conditions that are getting active in ways that suit their needs.
National Partnership Lead (Health and Inactivity), Sport England
[i] (NHS Information Centre (2007) The Health Survey for England 2007. Healthy Lifestyles knowledge, attitudes and behaviours).
[i] (Sport England (2019) Active Lives Survey 2017/2018).
[ii] (Department of Health (2011) Start Active, Stay Active: A report on physical activity from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers. London).