Exercise is medicine! But do people take the medicine? And for how long? Nowadays there is an unlimited amount of proof that physical activity and exercise are beneficial for health. Despite of this, an important question is if people take this medicine (regularly) enough to gain the multiple health-related benefits. Research shows that approximately 50% of all people drop out of an exercise program within the first six months. See Figure 1 below.
For this reason motivation and behaviour change are crucial topics. It is necessary to help people to stick to the exercise prescription. But it’s not only about exercise. Motivation and behavioural change are also main topics within nutrition and lifestyle in general. To support members, clients, and people in general to stick to their exercise, nutrition and lifestyle programme a well-balanced motivational and behaviour change cocktail is needed. In this cocktail it is important to increase both quality and quantity of strategies used. Most fitness and health professionals use several strategies, but often also simply forget other strategies or do not use strategies in the most optimal way.
One model to tailor made strategies to the specific needs of a client is the transtheoretical model of behaviour change. This model helps professionals to understand that changing behaviour is a process. The stages are: Precontemplation (PC = not thinking about change); Contemplation (C = thinking about change); Preparation (P = preparing to change within the next 30 days); Action (A = the change has started but only within the first six months); Maintenance (M = the change is maintained for more than 6 months); Relapse (R = the behaviour is terminated)(see Table 1).
In this process, psychological factors like self-efficacy are developing over time and a professional should support this. The framework of the stages of change can inspire to create a list of tailor-made strategies which can be provided for clients or members, matched to different kinds of health behaviours (see Table 1).
Let’s take a male named Philip: he is preparing to start exercising with the help of a personal trainer (Table 1; exercise), he is not thinking of changing his sitting behaviour (car, office) and is not considering to stop smoking (cigars). In regards to his diet, according to Table 5.2 he is also contemplating a change to his eating habits. By analysing a set of behaviours and the stages of change of the single behaviours, it is possible to create a mixed and tailor-made programme to improve the health of customers and clients.
In EuropeActive’s Essentials of Motivation & Behavioural Change, a wide range of strategies and practical tools will be presented based on multiple theories and frameworks. In ten chapters, topics on exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle will be discussed, but also special topics like the role of technology to support motivation & behaviour change, and customer service & communication. This book supports fitness, health and sport professionals to get more people, more active, more often. Personal trainers, fitness instructors, group fitness instructors, physiotherapists, nutritional coaches, sports coaches, and many more will learn about the essentials of motivation and behavioural change and gain a large amount of practical strategies and tools to support their clients or members.
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