Personal Trainers and Mind

ACE Personal Trainer
Manual, 4th edition
Chapter 13:
Mind-Body Exercise
Learning Objectives
 This session, which is based on Chapter 13 of the ACE
Personal Trainer Manual, 4th ed., reviews many of the popular
forms of mind-body exercise and offers practical suggestions
for how trainers can incorporate mind-body techniques into
training sessions.
 After completing this session, you will have a better
understanding of:
– The neurological foundations of mind-body exercise
– The classical forms of mind-body exercise—yoga, tai chi, and qigong
– The roots of contemporary forms of mind-body exercise, including
Pilates and Nia
– The role of mind-body exercise in chronic disease management
– The general precautions associated with each of these types of exercise
 Any form or level of physical activity can be “mind-body.”
 Mind-body exercise is physical exercise executed with a
profound inward mental focus.
 Regular participation in mind-body exercise has been
associated with:
– Improved muscular strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination
– Increased mental development and self-efficacy
Neurobiological Foundations of Mind-body Exercise
 Muscle afferents have direct
access to mechanisms of
– Projections of the muscle
afferent pathways to the
– Muscle fiber–brain pathways
are involved in affective
responses to muscular
 The hypothalamus–pituitary
CRH interface is truly the
consummate “mind-body
Roots of Contemporary Mind-body Exercise Programs
 The Asian yoga and tai chi disciplines are at the root of
most contemporary mind-body exercise programs.
 Yoga
– A complex system of physical and spiritual disciplines that is
fundamental to a number of Asian religions
 Tai chi
– Derived from the practice of qigong (also called chi kung)
– Best described as a moving meditation
Differentiating Characteristics of Mind-body Exercise
 Mind-body exercise is attentive to the present moment and is
 Mind-body exercise generally relies on self-monitoring of perceived
effort, breathing, and nonjudgmental self-awareness.
 Conventional aerobic and resistance-training programs can manifest
mind-body qualities.
 Mind-body exercise can assist in the management of a number of
chronic diseases, including:
– Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
– Diabetes
– Arthritis
Benefits of Mind-body Exercise
 Hatha yoga has been helpful in improving:
– Arthritis
– Asthma
– Low-back pain
– Postural problems
 Tai chi has been helpful in improving:
– Anxiety
– Blood pressure
– Depression
Common Components of Mind-body Exercise Programs
 Meditative/contemplative
 Proprioceptive and kinesthetic body awareness
 Breath-centering or breathwork
 Anatomic alignment or proper choreographic form
 Energycentric
Yogic Breathing
 Yogic breathing training (pranayama)
– The practice of voluntary breath control, consisting of conscious
inhalation, retention, and exhalation
– The fundamental purpose of breathwork is to develop the ability to:
• Sustain relaxed attention to the flow of the breath
• Refine and control respiratory movements
• Integrate awareness and breathing to reduce stress and enhance
psychological functioning
General Precautions With Hatha Yoga Programs
 Hemodynamic and cardiac ventricular responses
 Those who are initially deconditioned or have a chronic
disease should:
– Minimize acute rapid changes in body position in the early
stages of hatha yoga training
– Use slower transitions from one yoga pose to the next
 Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Bikram yoga asanas and
sequences are appropriate for higher-functioning clients.
 Clients with cardiovascular or pulmonary disease should
avoid breath retentions and breath suspensions.
Qigong Exercise
 Qigong is a system of self-healing exercise and
meditation that includes healing:
– Postures
– Movement
– Visualization
– Breathwork
– Meditation
 There are two general categories of qigong:
– Active, or physical, qigong exercise (dong gong)
– Tranquil, or passive, qigong (jing gong)
 Many qigong styles are named after animals whose
movements they imitate.
Tai Chi
 Tai chi chuan is a complex martial arts choreography of
108 flowing graceful movements.
 It is commonly accepted that all tai chi styles follow three
similar essential principles:
 Major distinguishable styles of tai chi:
– Original Chen style
– Yang style
– Chang style
– Wu style
– Sun Style
Contemporary Mind-body Exercise Programs
Alexander Technique
A form of movement re-education in which the exerciser learns to overcome faulty
compensatory movement patterns
Corrects unconscious habits of posture and movement that may be precursors to injuries
Feldenkrais Method
Awareness Through Movement (ATM) and Functional Integration
Combination of verbal direction and manual-contact techniques to enhance kinesthetic
awareness and coordination
Classes blend movements and concepts from a variety of mind-body programs
Includes a moderate-level aerobic component that fosters spontaneity
Native American and Alaskan Spiritual Dancing
Ethnic mind-body routines that integrate nature into the movements
Assessing Outcomes
 There are a variety of methods, other than muscular
strength and flexibility measures, available to objectively
measure the response to mind-body exercise.
– Quality of life
– Blood pressure
– Pulmonary function
– Balance control
– Anxiety and tension
– Spirituality
Quality of Life and Blood Pressure
 Quality-of-life measures are reasonably well suited for
characterizing the overall functional response.
 Blood pressure
– Baseline and serial resting blood
pressure measurements after
four to six weeks of mind-body
exercise are appropriate outcome
Pulmonary Function and Balance Control
 Pulmonary function measures
– FEV1 (maximum forced expiratory volume in one second) is a
valid assessment outcome when baseline FEV1 is less than
 Balance control
– Balance assessment is appropriate for evaluating the response
to mind-body exercise programs in which balance control is a
primary component.
Anxiety and Spirituality
 Anxiety measures
– May be helpful in evaluating stress and tension
– The Spielberger State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) assesses anxietyproneness (trait) and the current level of anxiety (state).
– The STAI Computer Program is an inexpensive administration and
scoring program that is an alternative to paper-and-pencil versions.
 Spirituality
– Spirituality assessment tools may be used before and after a period of
mind-body exercise training.
• Brief Serenity Scale
• Mindful Attention Awareness Scale
• Spirituality Index of Well-Being
Indications for Mind-body Exercise
 Two key considerations for selecting mind-body exercise for clients
with chronic disease management:
– Only use forms where the intensity of effort begins with very low physical effort
and can be graduated slowly.
– Only those with stable chronic disease states should consider mind-body
 Characteristics of mind-body exercise programs that are helpful for
those with stable chronic disease include:
– Can be taught at a relatively low-intensity level and can be individualized
– Decrease real-time cognitive arousal and stress hormone activation
– Enhance proprioception and kinesthesis
– Can improve muscular strength, posture, and balance
– Can improve self-efficacy and confidence
Personal Trainers and Mind-body Exercise
Personal trainers can teach a client to use two mind-body techniques that
are the focuses of nearly all stress-reduction programs:
Sustained attention to the present
Internal awareness
Meditation and yogic-breathing exercises can be integrated with existing
warm-up and cool-down exercises.
Personal trainers can incorporate muscle sense and
breathing work into the aerobic phase of an exercise session.
Personal trainers can incorporate select yoga poses into the
flexibility and strength-training components of the program.
The popular tree pose can be included as part of a circuit
of exercises to help stimulate balance control.
Diaphragmatic breathing work can be presented to clients,
many of whom will find it very therapeutic.
 Mind-body exercise continues to emerge as an effective
fitness and health-enhancement modality.
 This session covered:
– Neurobiological foundations of mind-body exercise
– Roots of contemporary mind-body exercise programs
– Differentiating characteristics of mind-body exercise
– Benefits of mind-body exercise
– Mind-body exercise modalities and programs
– Contemporary mind-body exercise programs
– Assessing outcomes
– Indications for mind-body exercise
– Personal trainers and mind-body exercise

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