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Fostering Resilient Behavior Change

0 6 months ago

In an “ideal world,” health professionals would provide sound information to their patients or clients about their health behaviors, such as exercise and healthy eating, and that would be all those individuals would need to affect lasting behavior change. Although there are notable exceptions, that is not what typically occurs. This is especially the case when clients’ goals are related to reducing their weight. Nearly 75% of the U.S. adult population is at a body mass index high enough to be associated with increased health risks. In addition, it’s worth noting that in determining the number of Americans who attain the recommended minimum of 150 minutes of weekly moderate-intensity exercise, one piece of?research?found that?only?6 to 8% of adolescents and 5% of adults?do so, while another study put that number at 10% for adults.Top 6 Health Behaviors For a Healthy YOU wellnessworkdaysNutrition

Clearly, there are additional tasks for health professionals, including ACE Certified Health Coaches and Exercise Professionals, to take on, beyond simply providing sound advice. For example, symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorders are now present in one-third of U.S. adults, which means this ought to be a primary concern for all involved. In this blog, explore methods that can be incorporated into your practice to address changes in health behaviors that will help your clients reach their health-related goals, whether those pertain to physical or mental health.   

A considerable amount of work done by me and other health psychologists is unrelated to the classical health-related education often shared with clients. Most of us acknowledge the large-scale lack of connection between how much an adult knows about diet and exercise and their behaviors. Therefore, we are concerned with fostering behavioral changes that are resilient. Because 50 to 60% of adults starting or restarting an exercise program are predicted to drop out within several weeks or months, and regain of lost weight (sometimes beyond baseline weight) is highly predictable beyond an initial six to nine months of the weight loss, these efforts are worthwhile 

The good news is that while attaining 150 minutes of weekly exercise is a laudable goal, the performance of far less exercise is associated with substantial impacts on anxiety and depression. Additionally, research suggests that while increased exercise is associated with controlled eating and weight loss, frequency of moderate-intensity bouts of exercise (of at least 15 minutes each) does not matter very much, as long as a two session per week are consistently met.  


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