Physical activity in a pandemic: A new treatment target for psychological therapy.
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Rowan Diamond Felicity Waite. Physical activity in a pandemic: A new treatment target for psychological therapy. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice (2020)
The COVID-19 pandemic and its management are placing signiﬁcant new strains onpeople’s well-being, particularly those with pre-existing mental health conditions. Physicalactivity has been shown to improve mental as well as physical health. Increasing activitylevels should be prioritized as a treatment target, especially when the barriers to exerciseare greater than ever. Promoting physical activity has not traditionally been the remit ofpsychologists. Yet psychological theory and therapeutic techniques can be readily appliedto address physical inactivity. We present theoretical perspectives and therapytechniques relating to (1) beliefs about physical activity, (2) motivation to be physicallyactive, and (3) the sense of reward achieved through being physically active. We outlinestrategies to initiate and maintain physical activity during the COVID-19 pandemic,thereby beneﬁtting mental and physical health. COVID-19 is demanding rapid andsubstantial change across the whole health care system. Psychological therapists canrespond creatively by addressing physical activity, a treatable clinical target which deliversboth mental and physical health beneﬁt