Health and Fitness psychology

Articles on health and fitness psychology are important to the success of athletes and weekend warriors alike. These pieces of content help the physical fitness buff to improve their performances and increase their motivation. There are different ways of addressing the psychological motivation and fears of an athlete.

Some psychologists advocate a five phase approach. During the first phase describes the person making a decision to become healthy. Although the decision can take 2-3 seconds it takes 5-6 weeks to make the changes habit. During the second phase doubt enters. It is sure to enter. We are humans. We doubt our abilities. Get over it. Get past it. With a bit of talent and lots of persistence you can achieve what you believe – that simple.

In the third phase you have conquered your doubt and your mind and body connect. This is exciting but can also be repeated several times throughout your exercise program. During phase four you now associate yourself with a fit and healthy person. You become more self-confident.

Fitness is a journey, it doesn’t end. There are many steps, many goals, and different challenges you can identify and move toward. This is stage five. This isn’t the end but the beginning of a brand new season in your life.

Fitness experts also recognize that articles about health and fitness psychology are the ultimate educational resource for professionals who want to use science to help their clients achieve better performance. Fitness psychology helps the athlete to stay motivated, set and accomplish goals, make lasting behavioral changes and feel better about themselves both in and out of the health club.

The term athlete isn’t limited to world class participants but describes the activities of anyone who strives to achieve athletic goals whether walking, jogging, running, biking, swimming, or other activities that require you are off the couch and working your muscles.

An article on health and fitness psychology wouldn’t be complete without a brief discussion about behavioral science and the implications that holds for helping people to achieve their goals. Psychologists use behavioral therapy when they are addressing other mental health issues and have had great success. Sports psychology or health and fitness psychology are no different. There are tools that are useful for any profession to help people achieve their health, wellness and fitness goals.

Some of those tools, under the guidance of a trained professional, include education, motivation, goal setting and self-talk. The education and motivation techniques used will depend upon whether the patient is interested in changing health habits of exercise habits. The goal setting and self-talk techniques are quite similar. While using goal setting there are several objectives that should be met as well as criteria that should be considered.

When setting goals make them small, attainable, measurable, and broken into several compartmentalized areas. In other words don’t make a single goal to lose 50 pounds. Instead make a goal to lose 50 pounds in 18 months and have that goal broken down by months in pieces that are attainable by standard medical practice. You aren’t going to lose 10 pounds a week, no matter what the most recent quick weight loss program promises. You can safely lose 1 – 2 pounds a week over a long period of time. This means between 4-8 pounds a month – if you are consistent and can continue to lose weight each week without hitting a plateau.

Include other activities that are built around achieving the major goal. Using the weight loss goal from above you may also include a goal of walking for 30 minutes 4 times a week for 3 months and then moving on to a walking/jogging program 4 times a week for 3 months. You will build the goals from there. Don’t make a goal of beginning a running program when you haven’t gotten off of the couch for 6 years. Start small, continue to build and maintain consistency.

Self-talk is the other tool that is consistent no matter what your goals. We all speak to ourselves in our heads, even if we don’t acknowledge it or we don’t recognize it. Sometimes our talk is positive and sometimes it is negative. Articles on health and fitness psychology address the issue of self-talk because it is important in the achievement of your goals. We can convince ourselves of just about whatever we want. If you believe that you are destined to die when you are 65 the likelihood is that you will probably die within 2 years of that date. This will happen not because you are destined to die but because you live as if you will and the consequences of your behaviors are that you will.

Health and fitness psychologists will work with a person to change their self-talk to make it positive and uplifting. We can say what we want to ourselves. It doesn’t make it right or wrong. But what we say to ourselves will affect our reality and the outcome of our efforts. If we have a choice then make the choice to speak positively!

RESOURCES
PsychCentral: The Psychology of Exercise and Fitness
http://psychcentral.com/news/2008/01/10/the-psychology-of-exercise-and-fitness/1771.html
GoodTherapy: Sports/Fitness PSychology
http://www.goodtherapy.org/sport-fitness-psychology.html

Association for Psychological Science: Exercising Judgement: The Psychology of Fitness
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080109173800.htm
Military: The Five Psychological Phases of Fitness
http://www.military.com/military-fitness/workouts/five-psychological-phases-of-fitness
Commonwealth Psychology Associates: Health Psychology and Wellness
http://www.commpsych.com/health-psychology-wellness/

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