Physical activity resources

Site: Royal College of General Practitioners - Online Learning Environment
Course: Physical Activity Hub
Book: Physical activity resources
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Date: Thursday, 18 August 2022, 2:00 AM


The resources, literature and organisations which underpin the ‘Movement for Movement’.


A comprehensive but non exhaustive collection of the most relevant resources to support GPs understand the relevance of physical inactivity in the context of health; as well as other organisations whose aims and objectives align with ours! 

Get in touch if you have suggestions for additions! Email us:

Key resources

Active Practice Charter

Signing up to become an Active Practice is the best way to demonstrate to staff and patients that you mean it when it comes to physical activity and health! For more information, please explore our Active Practice Charter webpage.

Couch to Fitness

For lots of people the idea of going to the gym or joining an exercise class is daunting.

Couch to Fitness is a fitness programme, a free, 9-week programme designed for complete beginners that can be done from their own home and at their own pace. The expert instructors will guide them through a 9-week programme to gradually build up their fitness. Enjoy getting fit from home by following our online workout that is suitable for all levels and flexible to fit into your schedule.


The RCGP collaboration with parkrun UK promotes the health and wellbeing of staff and patients. GP practices across the UK are encouraged to develop close links with their local parkrun to become parkrun practices.

Moving Medicine

An award-winning resource developed by the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM) as part of Sport England and Public Health England's (PHE) Moving Healthcare Professional programme. The Moving Medicine website provides a platform and structure for clinicians to have conversations about physical activity with their patients.

Motivate 2 Move

A fantastic resource for GPs developed by Dr Brian Johnson and team. It brings together the best available evidence for physical activity in the context of specific medical conditions – Motivate 2 Move is essentially a free-to-access virtual textbook on everything a GP could ever want to know about physical activity!

Active employee toolkit

Our funding partners at Sport England have developed this Active Employee Toolkit which has information about how it’s a win win for people to be active at work. It includes useful tips and suggestions for how to develop an active culture in your workplace.

We are Undefeatable

We Are Undefeatable is a major national campaign supporting people with a range of long term health conditions, developed by 16 leading health and social care charities and backed by expertise, insight and National Lottery funding from Sport England. The purpose of the campaign is to support and encourage people to be active in ways that work with their conditions, not against them. The website is packed with ideas, facts and resources for patients and the medical teams supporting them - check it out!

Make your Move videos

A key message is that physical activity is good for everyone - particularly those who have existing longterm conditions. From the team behind ‘We Are Undefeatable’ the Make your Move videos are aimed at people who are experiencing symptoms including pain, fatigue, stiffness and low mood. The purpose of these ~15minutes videos is to motivate and support people to be active in a way that works for them using simple, varied and FUN activities that are designed to improve strength, balance, coordination, energy and stamina and relieve stress. Please share the videos with patients!

Swim England

Swim England has released a range of fact sheets on swimming with particular health conditions to help quash the stigmas associated with exercising in the water. They are designed to be used by healthcare professionals, pool staff or patients themselves. Topics include asthma, glandular fever, ear infection, dementia and epilepsy. The Health and Wellbeing Benefits of Swimming report highlighted the enormous potential benefits swimming and aquatic activity have to support the health of the population. The unique properties of water make swimming perfect for people of all ages to exercise, particularly those with injuries, impairments, long term health conditions, or those who struggle to exercise on land.

Supporting patients to change their behaviour

One of the major hurdles preventing patients from changing their lifestyle is motivation. Understanding and influencing people’s behaviour is a challenge but can be learnt!

  • The NHS Digital Weight Management Programme is a 12-week online behavioural and lifestyle programme supporting adults living with obesity who also have a diagnosis of diabetes or hypertension, to manage their weight and improve their health. 
  • BMJ module on Motivational Interviewing - A one hour module on motivational interviewing.
  • Sport England: Applying behaviour change theories
  • Health professionals can access the National Physical Activity Clinical Champion Training provided through PHE and Sport England’s Moving Health Care Professional Programme. The training focuses on the evidence base and how to provide brief advice and support to patients. Email: to enquire about training for your practice. 
  • Motivational interviewing and behaviour change: Stephen Rollnick - Psychologist/Author and co-founder of Motivational interviewing; his own courses and publications.

Evidence and guidance

Physical activity guidelines

Guidance from the Chief Medical Officers in the UK on the amount and type of physical activity people should be doing to improve their health – the recommendations here form the basis of the Active Practice Charter and other key initiatives, and the freely accessible high definition infographics are great resources for waiting rooms, staff areas and clinical rooms!

Exercise: the Miracle Cure

This report by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges outlines not just ‘why’ doctors must take a leading role in the fight against a sedentary lifestyle, but sets out in clear and simple terms ‘how’ they should.

NICE Guidance

Many NICE guidelines include physical activity in the recommendations.


These are all organisations the physical activity team has worked with, has written for, or are members of.

UK Organisations

  • Activity Alliance supports and enables organisations to support disabled individuals to be and stay active. Their work is centred on research and insight with disabled people as well as engagement with disability and sports organisations.
  • Active Partnerships - There are 43 Active Partnerships across England who work collaboratively with local partners to create the conditions for an active nation, using the power of sport and physical activity to transform lives. Get in touch with your local lead and explore how you can work together!
  • The British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine (BASEM) has educational courses on sports medicine, musculoskeletal examination and exercise medicine, as well as national conferences on these subjects. Membership also provides free supply of the internationally recognised British Journal of Sport Medicine and provides the grounding for a career in sport, musculoskeletal and exercise medicine, suitable for any GP or allied health professional.
  • The British Association of Sport and Exercise Scientists (BASES)   produced the evidence behind the UK guidelines on physical activity.
  • The British Journal of Sport Medicine (BJSM) - The leading journal containing articles on sports and exercise medicine. A very useful education section with excellent orthopaedic medicine examination videos, case histories, information on exercise medicine and learning material. It also includes plenty of blogs and podcasts to listen to. 
  • British Society of Lifestyle Medicine is a multidisciplinary society aiming to prevent, improve, manage and treat lifestyle-related conditions. BSLM aims to establish Lifestyle Medicine as central to health and wellbeing by promoting the prevention of avoidable lifestyle-related diseases, by advocating treatment of diseases of the 21st century with a realistic approach and by influencing healthcare and health policy. 
  • Exercise Works! The UK and international site for up to date, evidence-based physical activity news via its twitter account. A comprehensive set of Undergraduate resources for the Medical student curriculum are available from the curator of ‘Exercise Works!’ Exercise Works! website.
  • The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine (FSEM). The governing body of Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) in the UK, who oversees the curriculum for the higher speciality training.
  • The National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine: Centre for research, education and clinical services in sport, exercise and physical activity from three hubs in England
  • Public Health England. PHE exists to protect and improve the nation’s health and wellbeing and reduce health inequalities. Their Everybody active, everyday framework for physical activity sets an evidence based approach to getting the nation active, including moving healthcare professionals. Reviews of the evidence for specific conditions and activities are also available on their website.
  • Sport England has a vision that everyone in England feels able to take part in sport or activity, regardless of age, background or ability to deliver a range of outcomes including physical and mental wellbeing. A key focus of their work is supporting inactive people or those with or at risk of long term conditions to get active by developing collaborations, supporting innovation and providing advocacy and influence across a range of partners. This includes working in partnership with Public Health England on the Moving Health Care Professionals Programme (which includes the Moving Medicine resource), their work with the Richmond Group of Health Charities and investing in targeted interventions that reduce inequalities and improve the evidence base for how to tackle inactivity with specific audiences such as Get Healthy Get Active and Active Ageing. 
  • UK Active exists to improve the health of the nation by getting more people, more active, more often. 

International organisations

Key papers

Ian Brockhurst, Jean Wong, Helen Garr and Mark E Batt 

British Journal of General Practice 2019;  69 (683): 276-277 

Andrea Ramirez Varela, Robert Sallis, Alex V. Rowlands, and James F. Sallis 

Robin Chatterjee, Tim Chapman, Mike GT Brannan and Justin Varney