Promoting Physical Activity Across the Lifespan!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Susan Buchholz, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAANP
College of Nursing, Rush University, Chicago, IL, USA

Physical activity has multiple benefits and is more powerful than any sole pharmaceutical class of drugs, in the promotion of health and prevention of certain diseases. Insufficient physical activity is now the fourth leading risk factor across the globe for mortality. Most people are able to engage in physical activity, especially walking, and therefore obtain the many related benefits. Despite this fact, nurses are not consistently providing physical activity counseling and assessment. Nurses are in a unique position to counsel their patients in improving and maintaining physical activity, as they take care of a wide range of patients across the lifespan, and across many settings, including in the community.

This presentation will review the physical activity basics, including the importance of physical activity and the different types of physical activity recommended. Many countries now have excellent physical activity guidelines. These include aerobic physical activity guidelines, which will be the main focus of this presentation. Recently in the United States, the Surgeon General put out a Call to Action to promote walking. This Call to Action has prompted nurses and other health care providers across the United States to review physical activity prescribing and monitoring practices.

The presentation will also focus on specific physical activity guidelines for populations that nurses regularly provide care for. This includes children, adults, older adults, pregnant and postpartum women, individuals with comorbid conditions and individuals with disabilities. Nurses have available to them many tools with which to assess physical activity. A description of subjective and objective physical activity assessment tools that can be implemented in various practice settings will be provided. Physical activity is most likely to improve when it is tailored to the individual, and their unique situation and surroundings. The elements of writing an individualized and realistic physical activity prescription will be discussed. Finally, this presentation will highlight the importance of nurses taking care of their own health, including being physically active.