Table 1

Exercise Counselling Protocol


Process of change

Exercise Counselling framework: Examples of skills and techniques used

1–2 Cognitive

Consciousness Raising

a. Review first session:

• How did it feel? Was it difficult/easy?

• Did you enjoy it?

Dramatic Relief

• Importance of exercise, why do we need to warm up & cool down

Decisional Balance

• Heart rate monitoring, what to wear, what & when to drink

• What to expect in the coming weeks.

• Any questions

b. Healthy eating

• What is it?

• When should I eat?

• What type of foods are good/not so good?

• Hand out standard dietary information sheet

c. Benefits of exercise

• How often?

• How hard?

• Where and when?

3–4 Cognitive

Self Re-evaluation

d. Which physical exercises do I prefer?

Decisional Balance

• Previous exercise experiences, why this worked / failed.

• What other exercises might you like to try?

Consciousness Raising

e. Do you know?

• Benefits of exercise

• Importance of healthy eating

f. Are you enjoying the sessions?

• What do you like?

• What do you dislike?

• What would you change?

• Is it what you had expected?

g. Active and healthy living

• Food groups, choices, portion sizes.

• The breakfast challenge

• Review healthy eating card.

5–6 Cognitive and Behavioural

Self Re-evaluation

h. Evaluate sessions so far

• How do you feel about exercise now?

Goal setting/Self-regulation

• How comfortable do you feel exercising?

• Which exercises do you enjoy the most?

Social Support

i. Introduce goal setting

• What is it?

• How might it help?

• Set one exercise goal and one healthy eating goal for the week

j. Findings support for exercise

• Thinking of others who might encourage participation in exercise

• Finding someone to talk to when exercising is difficult

• Consider ways in which to exercise with other people

7–8 Behavioural

Goal setting/Self-regulation

k. Review goals

• Did you achieve them?

• If yes then well done!

Stimulus Control

• If not then why not? What can we do to help change this?

Reinforcement Management and Self-Liberation

l. Cues for action

• Thinking of tasks that might prompt participation in exercise

m. Thinking about moving on from the programme

• Home programme phase

• Future exercise options

n. Looking and planning ahead. SWOT analysis

• What will help me to exercise in the future?

• What will stop me?

o. What have I achieved so far

• Review exercise

• Review healthy eating

• What do I want to achieve from here?

• Thinking positively and taking positive action

• What has been learned

Daley et al. BMC Public Health 2005 5:113   doi:10.1186/1471-2458-5-113

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