Training as a Health Psychologist provides a variety of skills to work in numerous settings. Whilst there is a difference between whether one works in health care, the community, policy making or like me, in higher education, the core responsibility remains the same, evaluating physical, personal, social factors which can all impact on illness and influence health.
This holistic approach means that the factors which contribute to illness can be explored and strategies to promote health can by developed. This application leads to greater success for individuals. Particularly those who may be experiencing health challenges. For example, asking a person to eat healthy foods may be met with a barrier. A common complaint for ‘healthy’ eating is cost and whilst such a significant number of the population are living on minimal income, not considering this barrier would not only mean the healthy eating intervention is unsuccessful but would likely dishearten an individual even further. Therefore, another strategy could be to introduce menu planning, safe food preparation and storage which would support a limited budget. Not everyone knows how to create menu plans or budget for things like healthy food, so health-psychoeducation around these factors is important.
Another health intervention which can prevent disease and support overall health is exercise. Movement is essential for life. What we do know is that every one of us is different. We have different levels of fitness, personal/environmental responsibilities, and physical ability. As a qualified personal trainer, yoga and Pilates teacher, I have become more aware of barriers to exercise through my research and studies in Health Psychology. As such, I recently embarked on continuing my professional development specifically around the domain of physical activity and have recently qualified as an Exercise Referral Specialist.
Well, the reason I have taken this training is that I believe physical activity needs to be inclusive. That means that everyone has a right to join in with exercise and movement. Due to individual differences, more traditional fitness facilities may not be conducive to those who may have disabilities or chronic illnesses. It is this population that I wish to support by way of sharing information which makes physical activity accessible and most importantly fun! That was people will want to join in. Moving your body makes you feel good! You don’t have to be ‘good’ at it, you don’t need to ‘look’ a certain way. You just need to approach moving with an open mind and ensure you are doing things that are safe, effective and enjoyable.
My hope is that my new qualifications will reinforce the skills I have already and ensure I can support those that need a helping hand. Afterall, we are all in this together and who doesn’t need a cheerleader at times. I hope to help you build your confidence and belief in the things you are capable of. More importantly, I hope to she you that when faced with set-backs, you can start again! It is never too late to start, and there is nothing wrong with starting again!
So, can I ask if I may, are you moving your body???? Please get in touch! I love to connect and will alwasy get back to you as soon as I can.
Some resources to encourage and help you to get moving are:
Visit http://www.activityalliance.org.uk who provide great resources for those living with an impairment or health condition.
Sport England also have fantastic advice and ‘tangible tips’ for what you can do at home https://www.sportengland.org/jointhemovement