On National Mental Health Day 2019, Focus Training is proud to be launching a brand new course in Mental Health Awareness. Awarded by Active IQ, the lead awarding organisation in the health and fitness sector, the course is designed to help personal trainers understand mental health and raise awareness of common mental health issues.
Why do Personal Trainers need to know about mental health?
As one in four people in the UK suffer from mental health illness, the chances are you will have a client who has a mental health issue. Across the country, many people struggle with mental health, whether as the result of an injury, events or life circumstances.
Mental health issues affect people in many ways and is different in each individual. Generally, a person with mental health problems may lack energy and motivation. They may feel worthless, have a low self-esteem, feel anxious, overwhelmed, or numb.
The link between exercise and improving mental health is unquestioned. In recent years, there has been countless studies documenting that exercise helps. Exercise produces chemicals, such as endorphins, with the effect that people can begin to enjoy improved wellbeing and vitality. Personal trainers can play a critical role in helping clients with mental health issues.
Personal trainers become an important part of their clients’ lives by developing a deep connection with clients, helping them reach their physical goals and becoming healthier in the process, but there is another side of personal training that is often overlooked – the power of improved mental health.
How can Personal Trainers help?
Be aware of the warning signs.
- Are there changes in the client’s personality?
- Does the client seem withdrawn?
- Is the client short-tempered, easily frustrated or overly self critical?
- Has the client told you that they have difficulty sleeping or eating? Are they tired?
- Does the client have difficulty concentrating?
Don’t be afraid to address the topic with the client – ask them if they’re okay. It may be difficult, but chances are that the client will appreciate it.
Encourage the client to seek medical advice
What can Personal Trainers do?
Show patience and understanding and adapt your training sessions to suit each client.
Motivate the client to be active at weekends with activities like swimming or walking.
Be mindful that clients may experience suppressed appetite while they’re on medication.
Hard, aggressive training methods will rarely help a depressed client, but patience and learning how to best deal with mood swings certainly will.
Clients experiencing low blood pressure will need extra time to adjust when sitting down or standing up from different exercises to avoid feeling faint. Ground exercises may need to be avoided entirely.
In conclusion, personal trainers aren’t psychologists. Without the skills and knowledge to handle mental health, it can be difficult to deal with a client with mental health issues. Get qualified with our new mental health awareness course