It’s essential, really, to be physically active in some way; there is total consensus about that among doctors, kinesiologists, and sport scientists, as well as anybody with an insight into the construction of the human body and how it functions. Thus, it’s an important task to get people to be more physically active, and anyone in the position of having influence over people’s behavior are charged with that duty. Schools are, of course, key actors in this endeavor, but it’s important also to get through to people long out of school, and so the workplace is an important arena, as well as any place where people gather, for interventions in order to achieve the changes in physical activity behavior that’s necessary to ensure a long and healthy life. Erwin Apitzsch has read a useful book that deals with the issues at hand here, Motivating People to Be Physically Active: Second Edition by Bess H. Marcus and LeighAnn H. Forsyth (Human Kinetics). The book promotes, among other things, a five stage plan that will take the subject from being completely uninterested in physical activity to the highest level, where exercise has become a habit, as natural as eating and sleeping. Our reviewer is very positive to the books, but he would have liked to see more up to date references.
Move that body!
Dept. of Psychology, Lund University
Motivating People to Be Physically Active: Second Edition
200 sidor, hft.
Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics 2009 (Physical Activity Intervention Series)
This book is an updated second edition. To publish updated editions of books in the area of sport and exercise psychology is nowadays as common as publishing new books. This may be a result of the ever increasing knowledge in the field, and, maybe, of the fact that most areas are already covered.
The first edition of Motivating People to be Physically Active was published in 2003. The second edition claims to be fully updated and include recent recommendations as well as pros and cons for physical activity, description of the benefits of a physically active lifestyle, and the use of technology. The first edition covered 11 chapters on 218 pages, whereas the new edition covers 10 chapters on 198 pages in a slightly bigger size. Two chapters in part one of the first edition have been merged into one chapter, Putting Theories to Work by Looking at Mediators of Change, in the second edition.
Part one contains Theoretical Background and Tools for Measuring Motivational Readiness and part two Applications. Each chapter contains an introduction and a description of the topical content and a conclusion, supplemented with tables, figures, case studies, and pictures whenever appropriate. The two appendices contain the eight questionnaires related to motivational readiness for behaviour change, and a list of organisations, suggested readings, and helpful websites, which can be used when planning physical activity programmes.
The purpose of the book is to translate theories and concepts from behavioural science research into guidelines for health professionals to be used in individual, group, workplace, or community settings. The main focus is to develop programmes that help adult people to increase their daily physical activity primarily by taking the stairs more often at work, raking leaves in the yard, and playing basketball with the kids.
Although I am mainly positive to the book, I have a few critical remarks. There are only 26 new references dated 2004 or later, of which only seven are dated the last three years. I miss, for example, more recent studies on stage-matched programmes. The study reported 1992 (see above) is the only one mentioned in this area. Although the authors point out that we are just in the beginning to learn how to match physical activity programmes to our target groups, my question is: Has nothing happened in the last 17 years? The same criticism concerns a study from 1992 describing the distribution of people on the five stages of change in a workplace. Are there really no more recent studies on this, providing information on the contemporary situation in the population in different countries or on worksites?
I find the book very practical and useful as a tool for helping people to change their behaviour from being physically inactive to become regular exercisers. The whole approach is mainly scientifically based, and has an intuitive appeal. The message transferred is to take a client-centred approach, including personal successes and previous behaviour changes, motivational readiness for changes, self-confidence, goal-setting, type of activity, intensity level, social support, and environment. Questionnaires and many practical examples constitute the tools which can be used. Among the many practical examples, I found the following perspective-widening advice especially worthwhile to emphasise: A useful recommendation is to ask friends for walks or bike rides rather than lunch or coffee.
In my opinion, this book is a most valuable tool for all those who are engaged in promoting behaviour change, whether it is on an individual, group, workplace, or community level.
|www.idrottsforum.org | Editor Kjell E. Eriksson | Publoisher Aage Radmann|