Theories and Models
of Exercise Behavior
No doubt some practitioners question the usefulness of theories and models for contributing to their skills as MHPs. It's true that selected theories are meant to advance knowledge of a field of study, yet have minimal value in applied settings. However, we need theories and models to: (a) explain behavioral phenomena, (b) predict future behavior, (c) reduce an abundance of information into a framework that is organized and understandable, (d) to provide guidelines for testing the effectiveness of interventions, and (e) generalize results of studies to specific populations. MHPs who aspire to expand their career into the field of applied exercise psychology need to understand the foundations of health and exercise behavior, to be able to interpret client behaviors, and to apply selected aspects of the theory in practice. This chapter serves two purposes: (1) to briefly explain the best-known theories and models in describing, explaining, and predicting health and exercise behavior, and (2) to apply these theories and models in exercise settings for the practitioner.
EXERCISE BEHAVIOR THEORIES AND MODELS
Most researchers and practitioners (e.g., Clark & Becker, 1998; Ockene, 2001) agree that the reasons individuals voluntarily engage in