New Course Empowers Health Coaches to Address Physical Inactivity

In an effort to tackle the growing crisis of physical inactivity among Americans, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) has launched a new educational initiative designed to enhance the capabilities of health coaches. 

The course, titled Mindful Movement: Coaching Clients to Become More Active, is intended to help coaches more effectively engage with clients who are not meeting recommended activity levels.

Physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, with a recent study published in JAMA indicating that around 80% of both adults and adolescents in the U.S. are insufficiently active.

This significant health issue has prompted ACE to develop a program that focuses on evidence-based coaching methods and psychological strategies to inspire lasting behavioral changes.

Sean Foy, MA, the President of Personal Wellness Corporation and a key developer of the course content, emphasized the critical role health coaches play in this domain. 

“Health coaches are uniquely positioned to influence public health positively by helping clients to find joy and purpose in becoming more active,” he said.

The Mindful Movement course offers an innovative approach by integrating psychological aspects with physical activity, aiming to foster a stronger mind-body connection among clients. The curriculum is designed to help coaches understand and apply science-backed models and methods in their practices.

Participants in the course will learn to:

  • Support clients in achieving their physical activity goals using behavior change knowledge, tools, and resources.
  • Guide clients in uncovering a deeper meaning in their physical activities, promoting sustained engagement.
  • Customize their coaching techniques to match individual client needs, enhancing the effectiveness of interventions.

Sabrena Jo, Ph.D., ACE’s senior director of science and research, highlighted the health risks associated with inactivity, noting, “Those who do not participate in regular physical activity face a 20-30% increased risk of death compared to their active counterparts.” 

This course aims to equip health coaches with the necessary skills to not only support client goals but also to apply tailored behavior change strategies based on an individual’s readiness to alter their lifestyle, and represents a step forward in addressing a critical public health issue through the professional development of health coaches.

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