The health benefits of exercise are being demonstrated in more and more new research studies: Healthy body healthy mind. However it often difficult to get clients to be motivated to exercise, so some researchers are offering advice on that as well:
1. Get the client to compare their current level of exercise with what they used to do, to emphasize how it has changed.
2. Talk about the evidence that exercise can help with their problem, and show that exercise should be regarded as one part of their overall treatment.
3. Talk about how exercise shaped the health of their ancestors, that human beings were designed to work hard and be in constant motion, and that our current lifestyle is one of the things affecting their health.
4. Make it very clear that you expect them to start exercising more, and get them to commit to doing some specific exercise.
5. Encourage the client to identify what type of exercise will fit into their life style./Don't recommend a specific method. Point out that they can do simple things like walking and gardening to help get fitter.
6. Show them how to use motivational tools such as exercise diaries, goal setting.
7. Explain what resources are available from their local community, how to join groups such as cycle clubs and weight watchers.
8. Give clear instructions as to how much exercise they need. The usual recommendation is between half and hour and an hour a day, at least three times a week. However, not to take on too much too soon.
9. Discuss the benefits of aerobic and strength training.
10. Help the client to realise that exercise is not an all or nothing thing. Getting fit is a process, not an end, and they should expect some setbacks, and teach them how to deal with them.
I think that all therapists need to start treating the whole person.
A healthy body helps to ensure a healthy mind.