The Effect of Physical Activity on a Woman Suffering from Depression

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Psychology Assignment

TASK 1
Physical Activity is beneficial to society in many different ways, there are many organisations working to promote sport to everyone, no matter what their age, gender, background or ability. One of these organisations is called 'StreetGames', they particularly target children from underprivileged background and encourage them to get involved in sport and physical activities. This helps to keep crime levels down by keeping teenagers off the street and giving them something to focus on, it also can give children the opportunity to pursue a career in sport if they so choose. Sport is often seen as a recreational activity and can be utilised as a 'hook' to convince children to improve their education.

Although this is an important use of physical activity, the main benefit of exercise is for health and well-being; by doing regular exercise you can lessen your risk of a cardiovascular attack, prevent obesity and improve your body-image and self confidence. People who do regular physical activity also tend to have more energy than those who don't. Government Guidelines published in The Public Health Responsibility Deal (2011) that you should participate in 30-60mins of moderate exercise 5 days a week. This will keep you in a physically healthy state. Exercise is commonly prescribed as a treatment for illnesses such as mild to moderate depression; it's the combination of positive side-effects that can lift a patients' mood and aid them in overcoming their problem.

Valerie is a patient suffering from mild to moderate depression, she has been prescribed antidepressants by her GP but is unhappy with the side-effects, in particular, weight gain. Valerie wants to explore other treatments options. Also, she says that her current exercise status is sedentary. I would recommend physical activity as a treatment for Valerie because it will help her to lose the weight she gained from her current medication and give her a confidence boost. Also, if she joins a gym she could meet new people and make new friends. I would ask Valerie to keep an 'Activity Diary' where she would record what exercise she has done each day along with how she feels emotionally and within herself; by doing this she will be able to physically see how much she is progressing which will help keep up her motivation.

Chung and Baird (1999) performed a review of studies from the last 30 years and found a correlation between physical activity and mental health variables, this supports the use of exercise as a treatment for Valerie's condition. All though all exercise will be beneficial, certain types of exercise will be more beneficial for Valerie. The Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II; Beck, Brown & Steer, 1996) suggested that aerobic exercise appears to have a positive impact on depressive symptoms compared with anaerobic or non exercise.

Based on these results, I would suggest that Valerie begins her exercise regime by going for a walk as often as possible, hopefully progressing to jogging after a few weeks. Also, it would be beneficial for her to go swimming once a week.

TASK 2 – TTM
I will be outlining the Transtheoretical Model of Behaviour Change (TTM), Prochaska and DiClemente (1983), in relation to Valerie and her situation. It is based on an integrated hierarchical model of behavioural change. There are 5 stages to TTM: Precontemplation – No intention to change their lifestyle. Contemplation – Acknowledgement of a problem and the intention to fix it. Preparation – Making small changes, setting a date to start. Psychologically prepared. Action – Meeting criterion for physical activity.

Maintenance – Exercising at criterion level for over 6 months.

I think that Valerie is in the Contemplation stage of this model because she has already stated that she is open to explore other treatments and therefore has acknowledged the problem. She also makes it clear that she wants to change her lifestyle which is another...
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