Applied Exercise Psychology: A Practitioner's Guide to Improving Client Health and Fitness

Applied Exercise Psychology: A Practitioner's Guide to Improving Client Health and Fitness

Applied Exercise Psychology: A Practitioner's Guide to Improving Client Health and Fitness

Applied Exercise Psychology: A Practitioner's Guide to Improving Client Health and Fitness


This is the first applied handbook for practitioners who want to help patients begin and maintain an exercise program as a lifestyle change.

Mental health practitioners (MHPs) often earn a trust that not many other professionals do with their patients. It is with this trust that MHPs are able to encourage and help their clients begin a healthy and active lifestyle through exercise programs. This book, with easy to understand language, provides a simple introduction for mental health practitioners and clinicians to help their clients achieve better mental and physical health through exercise and learn how effective the psychological aspects of exercise can be.

The book helps MHPs obtain the background of ways to achieve proper fitness, and to go through the process of obtaining information about the client's individual needs, and finally to prescribe an exercise program that is compatible with those needs. A fundamental knowledge of applied principles of exercise physiology provides additional credibility to the prescribed exercise regimen.

  • Coverage includes:

  • Applied exercise psychology
  • Motivation technique
  • Theories and models in health psychology
  • Fundamental applied exercise physiology
  • Specific cognitive and behavioral strategies
  • Program interventions
  • Recommended books and journals
  • List of exercise and health organizations
  • Exercise checklist

This book will be of use to all mental health providers, including psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, counselors, and consultants, whose relationship with clients provides a unique opportunity to gain entry for proposing lifestyle changes.


We are in trouble. The health of our country is being compromised due to a lifestyle of overeating and sedentary habits. Never before in our history has the health of so many individuals been put at risk due to the lethal combination of an inactive lifestyle and poor nutrition. It is now apparent that for the first time in U.S. history, our children will lead a shorter, lower quality of life than their parents. The reason? We now live in what health practitioners call an [obesity epidemic.] About two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, costing billions of dollars for related health care treatment.

One group that has been ignored in the fight against overweight and obesity are mental health professionals (MHPs). The MHP is in a very powerful position to promote a healthier lifestyle among their clients. The level of trust and emotional bonding between MHP and client forms a rare opportunity for influencing the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of persons—clients—who are highly receptive to making positive, constructive, and significant changes in their life. Forming new habits from leading a sedentary lifestyle to becoming more physically active, including regular exercise, requires strong commitment and additional time and energy. Clients perceive their MHP, not unlike their physician, with extraordinary credibility in suggesting lifestyle changes. What have been missing, however, are the knowledge, skills, and willingness of MHPs to play a much larger role in suggesting exercise programs for clients, and the strategies needed to prescribe exercise routines and programs. MHPs often suggest to clients to initiate contact with specialists in beginning an exercise program fully expecting the fitness club industry to meet client needs by providing an informed, high-quality program. Sadly, neither of these expectations—clients contacting fitness clubs . . .

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