Background Sedentary lifestyle is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Motivating people to exercise is important, but difficult. Rheumatology patients in particular may have problems with pain and mobility which prevent them walking. Others are simply unwilling to start exercise due to laziness, lack of time, ignorance about correct exercises and fear of pain.
Methods We developed a patient education leaflet containing a “Two-minute Stretch” programme of eight exercises. The exercises were designed to be used whilst sitting at home or in the outpatient waiting area, travelling and potentially by wheelchair and bedbound patients. They targeted various muscle groups, with focus on good posture and deep breathing. Exercises included: shoulder rolls; arm extensions; leg raises; ankle and calf stretches; side and back stretches and reaching and twisting movements. Information was presented in basic sentences (Flesch reading ease score of 95.7/100), supported by simple diagrams. Rheumatology outpatients, staff and volunteers trialled the exercises by following the instruction leaflet. We collected data on: gender; age; leaflet readability; exercise achievability; feelings after trial and whether patients would do them at home.
Results 75 people completed the questionnaire; 49 in patient group, 26 in staff/volunteers group. Age Range: 20-79; Gender: Male: 18 Female: 32; 25 People did not specify gender. Age groups: 11-20 (1); 21-30 (17); 31-40 (2); 41-50 (5); 51-60 (5); 61-70 (5); 71-80 (4). 36 people did not specify age. All patients said they understood instructions on the leaflet. 68 of 75 (91%) answered that they could perform all exercises– >75% of people from each age group. All participants younger than 51 could do all exercises. 3 of 11 (27%) people older than 51 were unable to do one or more of the exercises. 40 of 49 from the patient group (82%) said they would do the exercises daily at home. After doing the exercises: 161 of 168 (95%) of emotional responses were positive: happy (25), awake (19), relaxed (29) in less pain (3) or like they were improving their condition (4). 4 out of 84 (5%) gave negative responses: in more pain (2) or tired (2). 56 out of 70 (80%) felt no new pains. 9 out of 49 (18%) would not do the programme at home. Reasons given were laziness (3 of 9) and pain (3 of 9). The remaining 3 wrote they were: “too busy”, “already do other exercise” or “not disciplined enough.”
Conclusions We present a “Two-Minute Stretch” sitting exercise programme designed sedentary people exercise. The programme is safe, achievable and supported by a simple leaflet and YouTube video. Exercise leaflet: http://www.gwh.nhs.uk/media/170803/sitting_exercises_level_1_leaflet.pdf
Acknowledgements Mr Antony Blanshard and Mr Oliver Roger produced the video for YouTube.
Disclosure of Interest None declared