Tools & Resources

We endorse the system-wide approach to physical activity and we are committed to contributing to the 8 outcomes identified in the physical activity framework for Scotland. Explore the 8 themes below.

Active Health & Social Care

Active health and social care is about embedding physical activity into routine NHS healthcare and social care services. With an increasing number of people living with and managing long-term conditions and the strong evidence base advocating the risks of inactivity and the benefits of physical activity in the prevention, early intervention and treatment of non-communicable diseases and long-term conditions, Active health and social care is critically important. Health and social care professionals must have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge, skills and confidence to have physical activity conversations and support people within their care to get active whist having a health condition. This can include finding ways that many people don’t realise count. Developing partnerships with physical activity providers will help health and social care practitioners create clear pathways and appropriate physical activity opportunities for different patient populations.

Active Travel

Active travel simply means making journeys in physically active ways - like walking, wheeling (using a wheelchair or mobility aid), cycling, or scootering. By supporting and encouraging more people in Scotland to choose active travel for everyday short journeys, we will improve health, create safer communities, and reduce environmental impacts. Greater investment is needed to improve the infrastructure that enables people to access destinations and services – this includes accessible pavement space for people of different needs. Infrastructure and behavioural interventions go hand in hand to promote and encourage people to make that modal shift. Policy actions to improve road safety will make communities safer and more accessible for active travel. Local authority planning and transport practitioners are key to creating inclusive and equitable active travel infrastructure in our communities.

Active Places & Spaces

Active places and spaces is about designing, creating and maintaining places and spaces across Scotland to enable people to be physically active in their community. It includes integrating urban design, transport, planning and land-use policies to identify improvements and opportunities for to enable and encourage people to move around their communities in a healthy and environmentally enhancing way. It also includes access to good quality public green open spaces, green networks, recreational spaces, play spaces and sports amenities.

Communications & Public Education

Communication and public education is about transmitting clear, consistent messages to inspire people to get active in a way that works for them. It includes adopting best practice principles in the development of communications and public messaging i.e. be positively ‘gain framed’; tailored to a specific audience, use formative research and validation methods to inform messaging, mitigate inequalities and aid dissemination. Communication and public education approaches combined with supportive infrastructure and opportunities are recommended as the most effective way to engage people in positive health behaviou

Active Workplaces

Active workplaces promote the benefits of movement for health and have opportunities that enable employees to reduce their sedentary time and boost their incidental physical activity during the working day. Employers can implement holistic and inclusive policies and approaches that enhance health and wellbeing and physical activity through the workplace. Policies and programmes might relate to designing the workplace environment so that it makes it easier for people to move around more often, supporting employees to actively commute, active social activities, awareness raising events about the benefits of moving more, allowing flexible time for physical activity; advocating an active working culture – such as walking meetings, and interventions that promote collective effort such as active team challenges.

Active Learning

Active learning offers a hub of engaging opportunities to build more workforce capacity to deliver system-wide approaches to physical activity in Scotland. Evidence and learning can influence a wide range of sectors to address some of the systemic barriers to physical activity that people with long-term conditions face. Sectors with the greatest potential include: Health and social care sector: shifting attitudes, practice and confidence levels through providing pre-service and in-service training opportunities and tools to enhance knowledge and guide practice. Active learning will enable more conversations with those who could benefit most from moving more and signposting to appropriate physical activity pathways in the community. Sport and physical activity sector: enhancing the skills, knowledge and competencies of the sport and active recreation workforce through workforce development opportunities. Active learning in this context will help engage, motivate and enable the development and delivery of appropriate, inclusive and equitable opportunities to attract and support people with long-term health conditions become active. Voluntary and community sector: sharing insight about the benefits, enablers and barriers of becoming more physically active and developing skills and competencies to deliver local opportunities. Investing in Active learning will build the capacity of this sector to support people with long-term health conditions to find ways of moving that works with their condition and not against it. Other sectors, such as Transport, Planning and Design, could benefit from Active learning about how can design and infrastructure can create environments that will increase opportunities for physical activity and influence health enhancing behaviours within communities.

Active Systems

Systems-based approaches are increasingly being used to address complex public health issues such as reducing inactivity and increasing physical activity levels among people with long-term health conditions. This approach involves applying systems thinking, methods and practice to better understand public health challenges and identify collective actions. A systems-based approach to physical activity in Scotland has been developed by Public Health Scotland. This provides a simplified approach to what can be a complex way of working and can be applied strategically at a national or a local level. This and other system-based guides can be found here.

Sport & Active Recreation

Sport and active recreation for all is about providing equitable and inclusive access to appropriate places, spaces and services across the life course. It includes prioritising efforts to target the least active as well as maintaining positive experiences to retain existing and returning participants. With an increasing number of people living with and managing long-term conditions and the strong evidence base for physical activity as a prevention and treatment tool it is important that the sport, leisure (health and fitness) and active recreation workforce have the knowledge, skills and confidence to engage, motivate and enable the development and delivery of appropriate, inclusive and equitable opportunities to support people living with long-term conditions to build movement into their everyday lives.