We focus on optimising the physical activity, fitness and self-reliance of people at home, in the neighbourhood, and around hospitalization. We look at how physiotherapists, together with other professionals and patients, can innovate care. Behavioural change and implementation are important elements of our research.

Lines of research within the research group

Movement care can make use of digital applications such as apps, online exercise programmes and pedometers, in the effort to help patients become more self-reliant. We are studying the manner in which this can be done, and which digital applications are best suited for different patient types. We are also developing healthcare treatments that are integrated with digital applications. One example of this is e-Exercise. Another line of our research looks at how digital applications can be better implemented in physiotherapy care.


Physical inactivity during hospital admissions is harmful, especially for older and frail patients. Yet 90% of the daytime is spent lying and sitting while two third of the patients is able to move around independently. Too little physical activity leads to an unnecessary deterioration of the patient's physical condition. As a result, the patient’s recovery period after hospitalisation is lengthened.

We are implementing physical activity as standard care before, during and after hospitalisation, so that patients can better optimise their physical condition and self-reliance. The coming years we will focus on movement monitoring as part of usual care.


Healthcare provision increasingly shifts to community settings, close to where people live and work. Physiotherapists and exercise therapists play a crucial role in optimizing people's functioning in their own environment. These professionals provide affordable, high-qualitative care to various target groups, across all stages of life, both preventive and curative. Collaboration with other professionals in the community including healthcare professionals, local sport providers, social work and policy makers is important. Physiotherapists are challenged to make their expertise visible to citizens and professionals around them through clear profiling and appropriate innovations. This way, they can truly add value to community-based healthcare and receive fair compensation for their efforts.


This line of research extends beyond the field of movement care, and studies topics in the broader range of the research centre Healthy and Sustainable Living. Many of today’s major challenges are directly related to our behavior. In the field of health, the primary threats to life expectancy and quality of life are behavior-related; think of the consequences of smoking, unhealthy eating, and insufficient physical activity. The well-being of our planet also depends on our behavior. To mitigate climate change, a considerable shift in our actions is necessary. The overarching question within this research line is: how can professionals apply behavioral insights for a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle for citizens, patients, and consumers?




The knowledge we acquire from this work is directly incorporated into the curricula of the bachelor and master's programmes in Physiotherapy and Kinesiotherapy at the HU. Students and lecturers are active participants in the research group’s projects. Within the AWP, students also conduct research or do a work placement at one of the Leidsche Rijn Julius Healthcare Centres (LRJG).

Two senior citizens strolling Brechtus Engelsma

“The focus of the research group fits in seamlessly with the vision of the professional association KNGF: promoting people’s daily functionality.”

Brechtus Engelsma Member of the Koninklijk Nederlands Genootschap voor Fysiotherapie (Royal Dutch Association for Physiotherapy, KNGF)


Some of our researchers also work within the Research group Physiotherapy Science of the University Medical Centre Utrecht. Within the Academic Workplace for Primary Physiotherapy, we work together with the Leidsche Rijn Julius Health Centres (LRJG), Fontys Paramedische Hogeschool and University Medical Centre Utrecht, a collaboration in which physiotherapists, general practitioners and nurses work together in providing healthcare, education and conducting research.

Our professors and researchers

Cindy Veenhof portret

Cindy Veenhof

Professor Innovation of Movement Care Show profile
Dr. Carla Agasi-Idenburg

Carla Agasi-Idenburg

Lecturer-researcher Innovation of Movement Care Show profile
Portretfoto Di Janne Barten

Di-Janne Barten

Researcher Innovation of Movement Care Show profile
foto Tessa de Bie

Tessa de Bie

PhD candidate Innovation of Movement Care Show profile

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