A guide has been published to increase awareness among health professionals of the benefits of cycling. The initiative is driven by a collaborative partnership between Sport England, The Royal College of Occupational Therapists, Moving Occupational Therapists and Sport For Confidence.
Called The Therapeutic Value of Cycling – a resource for health professionals, the guide has been co-created with students on their clinical placement, drawing on insight and experience from a number of other partners with the aim of encouraging health care professionals to promote and use cycling within their clinical practice.
The guide advises on how cycling can be adapted and embedded within assessment and intervention, giving health professionals the professional permission they need to embrace cycling as a core component of their clinical delivery.
It also explores the range of cognitive, sensory and physical outcomes that can be achieved through participation, brought to life by lived experience case studies and backed up by scientific evidence.
The project has been funded and supported by Sport England and coincides with the start of a £12.7m trial, announced by the Department of Transport, to encourage GPs to prescribe cycling as part of a wider social prescribing movement designed to improve the nation’s mental and physical health.
Lauren Walker from the Royal College of Occupational therapists, said: “If physical activity was promoted by all health care professionals and used more widely as an assessment and intervention tool, this could make a significant contribution to reducing inactivity and levelling up health inequalities.
“Across the UK there are over 150,000 Allied Health Professionals, more than 40,000 of which are occupational therapists.
”Through education and resources such as this new guide to the therapeutic value of cycling, we aim to support health professionals to understand the benefits cycling can deliver in terms of therapeutic outcomes and encourage them to embed it within their practice.”
Other partners involved in putting the guide together include British Cycling, Wheels for Wellbeing, Mixed Ability Sports, Sheffield Cycling 4 All, Cycling UK and Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Disability Rights UK, Disability Sheffield and Health Education England.
The guide is available to download here.