You have a job interview for the role of an Assistant Physical Activity Promotion officer. Within this role you will be asked to work alongside the GP referral scheme coordinator. As an assessment of your current ability you have been asked to produce a report on your current knowledge regarding the psychological benefits of physical activity. This will be a major decider in their decision of whether to offer you the job.
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A description and explanation of exercise psychology and its role in promoting a healthy lifestyle
Exercise psychology is the study of the brain and behavior in physical activity and exercise nature or settings. Also it focuses on human behaviours in different environment. It seeks the psychological benefits of exercise and psychical activity and the importance of exercise for the individual and how to promote lifelong participation
Exercise psychologist’s roles are mainly in research, education and consultancy. In research, they try to find the ways and benefits of exercise in increasing motivation, quality of life and etc impact the society. In education, they fill an education role by working in educational establishment, athletes and coaches and by producing educational materials on the benefits of the different disciplines within sport and exercise psychology. Consultancy role of exercise psychology involves working with individuals or groups with the view to developing psychological skills that enhance quality of life in some ways. They work in developing suitable exercise programmes, lifestyle management skills and increasing levels of exercise adherence.
The impact that exercise has had on psychological well-being
There are a lot of psychological benefits of exercising for ourselves such as improved moods, reduced stress as well as an improved ability to cope with stress, improved self-esteem, pride in physical accomplishments, increase satisfaction with oneself, improved body image, increased feelings of energy, improved in confidence in your physical abilities. These are some of the benefits and there are a lot more benefits of exercise in term of reducing the risk of developing colon cancer and etc. It also can act as alternative treatments to drug therapy. Not all patients are interested in consuming drugs. Exercise can be the other alternative although most of the time, its time consuming. In some countries, mental health are the main issues and cost a lot of money for the government in term of purchasing medicine. We have to try to reduce the cost and the problem. In UK there are a slight increase in depression and stress from 1993(!5.5%) to in 2007(17.6%)in the proportion of people aged 16-64.
Some of the symptoms of depression include withdrawal, inactivity and feelings of hopelessness and loss of control. Exercise can be a useful intervention tool for depression as research suggested that this problem can be reduces with exercise. Anxiety is defined as a state of worry, apprehension or tension. It occurs many times without real or obvious danger. Research has shown that many people try to solved anxiety with good and bad activities. Alcohol in the mind of some assumes it as a way to solved some of their anxiety problem and most of it, stress and it’s related also with smoking. Both as we know imposed danger to our health and can be considered as a bad way of tackling the problem. However, many people feel calm after a hard workout. They have forgotten their worries and use exercise as an outlet for their nervous energy. In both cases, exercise can reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
However there are a few negative affect if not carried out properly. Eating disorder are the more likely of a problem in and individuals who is doing and exercise. As statistic suggested, high percentage of eating disorder are associated with athletes and people doing exercise too much or exercise addicts. Most of them related to eating disorder known as aneroxia nervosa. It’s a psychobiological disease characterized by intense fear of becoming obese. Its relates to the social and personal perception of average weight, low self-esteem, the traits of anxiety and being perfectionist
The influence of different factor on encouraging exercise adherence and how this differs for different demographic groups
It has been know that they are two types of factors on encouraging exercise adherence which is situation factors and personal factors. Within these factors, there are a lot of factors that we need to address to maximize our exercise adherence.
Situation factors which affect exercise adherence and motivation are time, money, energy, role conflict, social support, exercising with others, facilities, climate and physical discomfort. Personal factors affecting exercise and motivation are awareness of personality, goal setting, imagery and arousal regulation and concentration. These are vital factors to maximize our exercise adherence.
Time management is an important part of everyone’s life. We have to find time in our life to exercise. According to the American College of Sports Medicine(ACSM) guidelines, time to exercise should be between 20-60 minutes, depending on how the individual carried out exercise whether it more than 3-5 times a week or less than 3-5 times a week. It must be situated in a time slot where you will find that exercise will bring enjoyment not the opposite way. Some suggested that its better to do a workout after having a day working hard which can reduced work stress.
Money is not a good reason why not to exercise. Exercise doesn’t mean we have to workout in a gym or doing it in expensive facilities such as treadmill and so on. We can do simple exercise for examples walking, running and jogging in our own neighbourhood or recreational parks nearby. Our daily life is all about exercise such as walking to our workplace and many more.
We often hear individual excuses of not exercising are they are too tired or lack of energy to do it. Nutrition plays important part in exercise. With a good consumption of food will increase energy in your body. It also can affect psychologically and physiologically when working out while you are hungry which distract your focus. It is important that prevent from having a meal before your exercise session.
Role conflict refers to time management. It can be related to any commitments such as work commitments, family commitments or any other commitments. As long as its not in conflict with it. The main thing is to identify our priorities lie and to make any sacrifice if possible. A good social support is vital for good exercise adherence. To stay in it, you must have the supports of your family and friends. They must understand your commitment to it and will try their best to do something in your interest such as organizing an event which will not contradict with your exercise date. Distraction from them is the least you want.
Some will prefer that exercising with other will improves the atmosphere for example having fun and create positive energy with them, rather than doing it alone which tedium can sets in. Exercising in a group exercise class is the best solution for gaining high motivation. when you missed a class, you will have to explain to them why and this will cause fear of embarrassment into you and you will try to avoid it.
The climate in which we exercise is very influential in term of exercise adherence . if the climate is not as we desire whether it’s too hot, too cold, dry or wet, it can cause an affect in your exercising. Try to do it in a climate that suits you or if the climate is not as you desire, try to have a backup plan such doing it in a sport centre. We must also know what it takes to exercise which can create physical discomfort and the real meaning of discomfort
To help in your exercise, it helps to reflect on yourself to improve self-confidence for the exercise program such as prior successes, role models, verbal persuasion and emotional arousal. You must remind yourself with your prior successes that is there any challenges that you can’t cope with. Then reflect to other people who have try to do it and have done it. Support is important as I stated earlier and control over emotions for seeing a success as the end result.With goal settings, it enhances your motivation why you are doing it in the first place. To be effective, your goals should be a SMARTER goals which is specific, measurable, accountable, exciting, recorded, time and realistic. For example if you do it to lose weight, you have to state how much you want to lose weight and by when you want to lose it.
To improve exercise adherence, its good to use your imagination. Imagery or visualization can help you seeing the outcomes if you continue exercising. With arousal regulation and concentration as well as imagination, you can prevent an individual feeling bored while doing exercise. Try to change the settings of your exercise and be creative about it.
As I stated above about the factors on encouraging exercise adherence, different groups have different factors to another. For example young children do exercise because they are told to do so and most of them find it interesting, in adolescent, in their mind is that breaking a sweat or do exercise is uncool in the view of social trends. Again for old people, they will say they exercise to prevent or reduce the risk of having a chronic disease such as heart disease.
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Another example would be male and female. As exercise refers to weight management, female tends to exercise for that reason. In the case for male, they do exercise to be fit and for the body image.
An exercise prescription for psychological well being for a particular group
Young adult are most associated with depression or anxiety,exercise can alleviate their symptoms. Exercise programme must be done step by step to prevent any unwanted factor to present such as injury. In this programme, they are 5 key of creating it which is skill, social, fitness, competition and enjoyment. Skill is to gain feelings of accomplishment, social isto gain a sense of belonging or feeling affliated to an organization or group, fitness is to improve strength,shape or stamina, competition is to archieve success either through competition or seeing progress and enjoyment is simply to have fun or pleasure. It also required a community based intervention, school based intervention and parental interventions to encourage young people to maintain an active lifestyle.
In community based interventions, the involvement of young adults in community service can create self-esteem with meeting new people. Doing exercises by the implementation of its community is vital such as walking and cycling in the local parks, encourage walking to school and so on. With male are more involved than women, the community should organize non-competitive activities that appeal this group such as charity fund and etc.
In school based intervention, its logical to implement more greater physical activity. The teacher is vital as a role model for this particular group which can motivate them to participate in school activities
Parental intervention are the most important as they are related to each other and they know their children better than anyone. They act as positive role modelto their children, personally demonstrating the benefits of an active lifestyle over more sedentary pursuits. They also can encourage their children to participate and they themselves to participate with their children. Parents needs to offer supports and encouragement to their children whatever their doing in exercise. Research has shown that female need more supports and encouragements than their male peers.
Practical examples of how best to prescribe and promote adherence in different groups
For sedentary old people, weekly exercise activities would be organize for them so that they would feel fresh. Besides that, they need to know the importance of exercise in health term such as reducing acute and chronic diseases. Family support for them is best as they don’t want to do alone, but besides with family.
For a group of people with anger issues, they need to do exercise just like the rest the people that is 3-5times a week for 20-60 minutes such as jogging and walking. in addition, share their views about their anger issues and reflect themselves what creates the issues at the first place.
For a group of young children, regular exercise would help. Parental encouragement and support is important. As their mind are just to have fun, organize a fun activities whichcan motivate to do exercise more often. Education to them about the benefits of exercise will give them the thought to exercise more often on their own and with family
Exercise psychology By J Buckworth, R Dishman