Talking with Your Patients about Physical Activity
Almost anyone at any age can benefit from some type of physical activity. As part of your ongoing conversations with patients, include a discussion about exercise and physical activity. Here are a few suggestions to consider when talking about exercise.
Changes in physical activity patterns. If patients are just starting out or want to significantly increase their activity level:
- Encourage them to try all four types of exercise (endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility).
- Work together to determine the best activities for them.
- Create a safe activity plan that provides the most benefits.
Warning signs. Encourage your patients to talk with you if they experience:
- Recent new symptoms
- Unplanned weight loss
- Dizziness or shortness of breath
- Foot or ankle sores that won’t heal
- Chest pain or pressure
- Joint swelling
- Feelings that their heart is fluttering, skipping, or racing
- A bleeding or detached retina, eye surgery, or laser treatment
- Blood clots
- Infection or fever with muscle aches
- A hernia
- Recent hip or back surgery
Encouraging continued progress. Many people start out enthusiastically but find it hard to stay motivated. Help patients stay safe and interested in being active with this advice:
- Start out at a comfortable level and progress slowly.
- Make physical activity part of a daily routine.
- Try different activities to keep things fun and interesting.
- Choose to be active through daily activities as well as planned exercises.
Your positive, encouraging attitude will go a long way to energizing and motivating your patients to be active!