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Why those who care are key messengers about Physical Activity

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Disabled people have poorer health and well-being compared to non-Disabled people. Given this health inequality, physical activity promotion needs to become a priority.

Our research through the Get Yourself Active programme has continued to show that social workers are essential and trusted messengers to the people they support.

Our research

At Get Yourself Active, we’ve been working with and learning from Disabled people about the importance of social workers and the social care sector as key messengers to support Disabled people to be more active in everyday life.

Research shows that people who provide support to Disabled people or people living with long-term health conditions – such as family members, personal assistants or support workers – can be key to unlocking the benefits of sport and physical activity

Cecilia Kumar, Head of Disability at Sport England.

The right messengers

We know that as a social worker you work to improve people’s lives by helping with social and interpersonal difficulties, addressing life challenges and enhancing well-being.

Disabled people often view social workers as good messengers because we see them as credible, empathetic, and knowledgeable about their needs. We know how much you value our well-being.

Another reason why you are so important is that you have such great reach. You will often engage with large amounts of the Disabled population.

You are, of course, a necessary and regular point of contact for Disabled people over our life course. For example, you will likely regularly assess the needs of Disabled people and provide face-to-face support.

Often your role in delivering community-based care services to Disabled people means you can provide multiple opportunities to have conversations with us about physical activity and the benefits it can bring to our lives.

Finally, we know that when people promote physical activity, they become more active themselves. Having conversations and supporting people to be active may mean you feel more confident to be more active in your own daily life. The benefits of promoting physical activity for social workers and the social work profession are thus many.