World Physical Therapy Day 2017: Physical activity for life

All healthy adults need to be physically active, and globally, 26% of adults aged 18 and over are not active enough. This is the message from thousands of physical therapists across the world as they prepare to take part in World Physical Therapy Day on 8th September 2017.

Every year, World Physical Therapy Day allows individual physical therapists and WCPT member organisations to celebrate their contribution to global health. This year’s event builds on the success of 2016, when thousands of physical therapists used the #worldptday hashtag on Twitter to unite events across the world.

Once again, World Physical Therapy Day is aligned with a World Health Organization (WHO) action plan. The World Health Organization has two classifications for physical activity: moderate, such as brisk walking or cycling, and vigorous, such as running or fast swimming.

However, global levels of inactivity have not been falling as quickly as they should. Physical activity, as part of day-to-day life, can improve cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular health and reduce the risk of conditions including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

“The evidence is unambiguous,” says WCPT President Emma Stokes. “Being physically active is absolutely essential for health and wellbeing. It is also clear that this is a challenge for many people.

“Our lifestyles and the environments where we work, play and learn are not always conducive to being physically active. But there are lots of simple ways to incorporate physical activity into our busy lives. That’s what World Physical Therapy Day is all about.”

Exercise and physical activity are different things, so ‘physical activity’ can include household tasks and gardening, as well as dancing, running or cycling. With an advanced understanding of how to keep the body moving, physical therapists can help people across the world to integrate physical activity into daily life.

“In 2013, a global voluntary target was set by the World Health Assembly to reduce physical inactivity by 10% by 2025,” says Emma Stokes. “But progress towards achieving this target has been slow.”

“Across the world, more than a million physical therapists have an opportunity to educate, enable and empower people of all ages to increase their physical activity. Helping even ten people become more active will have a significant impact on global inactivity levels. So let’s start as we mean to continue with World Physical Therapy Day.”

Get involved Read the booklet

The WCPT has produced a toolkit of materials to support physical therapists and their organisations in their World Physical Therapy Day activities. It includes:

  • A leaflet: to distribute directly to patients and the public.
  • A poster: to display in public places.
  • Two infographics: to display and distribute to patients and the public.
  • A postcard: to distribute directly to the public.
  • Translations: the posters, flyer and postcard are also available in Spanish and French. They will also shortly be available in German.
  • Social media graphics: a selection of graphics will be produced for you to use on Twitter and Facebook to promote the day and this year’s message.
  • Twibbons: to add to your Facebook and Twitter profiles.
  • Campaign resources: additional information and resources for physical therapists about this year’s campaign.
  • A t-shirt design and logo: to download and get printed locally.
  • Stickers: to download and print on standard printer labels.
  • Banner artwork: to download and be supplied to local manufacturers.

Use the Toolkit