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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Susan Richardson, MA, PsyD (Private Practice)
Description: This book seeks to define how knowledge of exercise psychology can be used by mental health practitioners to encourage increased exercise participation. There is a useful discussion of the main components of applied exercise psychology such as motivation and fostering performance.
Purpose: The author's rationale is that mental health professionals are in a great position to encourage improved health habits among their clients due to the level of trust, bonding, and credibility they hold. Given the nation's obesity crisis, increasing physical activity among any portion of the population is a worthy endeavor, and the author illustrates nicely where and how mental health professionals can intervene.
Audience: Although the book targets mental health professionals, it would also be useful for personal trainers and others who work in the exercise industry. Essentially, anyone in a position to offer counsel on fitness could benefit from familiarization with these concepts.
Features: The book defines its subject as an unexplored area and then illustrates the usefulness of the concept to mental health professionals. There are chapters on exercise avoidance, theories of change, and mental health benefits of exercise, amongst others. The author also provides a terrific appendix that includes good illustrations of safe stretches and several fitness assessments. It is not clear why instructions for Skinfold Measurement for fat assessment are made available as clearly most mental health professionals would have inadequate training to provide these.
Assessment: This book provides a great deal of very useful information for mental health professionals wanting to encourage greater physical activity among their clients. The level of information presented is accessible without being overly general. The book is well written, nicely organized, and highly readable.