Will Personal Trainers in GP Surgeries Do Any Good?

November 7, 2015 - Mike Dilke

I read in a Guardian article that a coalition of health experts is calling for a personal trainer to be put in every doctor’s surgery and job centre to help tackle the UK’s physical inactivity problem.

The call comes as part of the first joined-up strategy for tackling lack of exercise cross society, estimated to cause 37,000 deaths annually and cost the economy £20bn per year.

The plan, Blueprint for an active Britain, has been launched by ukactive, a leading not-for-profit organisation. It urges the government to take action across the NHS, social services, transport, workplaces and the built environment.

There certainly is a problem and it starts at a young age. Half of seven-year-olds are not getting the recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity, according to a report by ukactive.

My children go to a Steiner School which really focuses on physical activity and movement particularly on  things that promote hand eye co-ordination and proprioception. This year my daughter has a class on  circus skills which includes juggling and uni-cycling. I am not worried about their activity levels at the moment.

However as they get older and join the workforce maybe I do have a worry. It has been shown that being sedentary for extended periods (as you might in an office job,) but then  going to the gym or other exercise for a hour or so 2 or 3 times a week still has health problems. So while having personal trainers giving advice on how to exercise etc has got to be a good thing I am not sure it will help with the tide of obesity, the concern of diabetes and other problems associated with it.

See this article by Michael Mosely that talks about research by Dr Buckley, from the University of Chester. He thinks that although going out and doing exercise offers many proven benefits, our bodies also need constant movement to keep healthy. So perhaps workplace occupational health advice might be more useful to have at the GP rather than someone persuading us to work up more of a sweat at the gym!

See some ideas to keep moving during your day at the office here.