During an outstanding edition of the McLean Hospital Mental Health Webinar Series, Dr. Chris Palmer provided a mini-master class on behavior change for individuals who are sedentary, which I highly recommend (watch video: 6:16-17:46).
- If you’re deconditioned or injured, have a chat with primary care before starting a physical activity regimen. Be safe and reasonable.
- Love this succinct quote: “Start with something. Anything. Anything you can do. Start slow. Try to make it something you might enjoy.”
- For mental health benefits, it’s best to work up a sweat and breathe hard. Of course, only if it’s safe and reasonable.
- Start slow. Work up to where you want to be.
- Be social. Friends will keep you accountable.
- For an individual who is metabolically compromised, energy is not a matter of willpower. Resist shame and blame. Being compromised causes lower energy levels so, yeah, it will be hard to get started, but it WILL get easier.
Why It Matters
- Physical activity can lead to better mental health
- A person struggling with mental health may find it more difficult to begin a physical activity regimen, so counseling patients on safe ways to begin a regimen, including the behavior change principles mentioned above (e.g. start slow, try something you enjoy, include friends, resist blame) is important for success
- In general, all healthy and safe movement provides health benefits, but working up a sweat (when safe to do so) is optimal for achieving mental health benefits
Key Definitions to Know
Metabolic Syndrome –
Three or more of the following traits:
- Large waist
- High triglyceride level (a type of fat found in blood)
- Low HDL cholesterol levels (i.e. the good cholesterol)
- High blood pressure
- High blood sugar
For a more detailed definition, check out Mayo Clinic