PY0756 - Exercise Psychology

What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will be prepared to work in the growing field of health promotion. The module focuses upon initiating behaviour change in relation to health behaviours in general and physical activity in particular. The module explores both the impact of exercise on mental health and the underpinning psychological variables that shape people’s decision-making in relation to exercise participation. The module is devised to provide you with a thorough theoretical grounding as well as giving opportunity to develop your practitioner and employability skills. You will learn about the effects of exercise on mental health as well as theories of behaviour change, and how to devise and implement tailored strategies to support exercise promotion across different populations. You will learn key practical techniques such as ‘Motivational Interviewing’ and will have the opportunity to apply what you have learnt in real life scenarios. You will explore and develop your own working practice and will learn how to be become a reflective practitioner. This module will enable you to develop your communicating and influencing skills, to engage in decision making and creative problem solving, to work collaboratively, to gain self-awareness, to help develop others and to adhere to professional standards.

How will I learn on this module?

On this module you will experience an interactive workshop style of teaching. This approach involves a diverse range of learning activities including brief lecture style presentations, quizzes, discussion groups, video and real-world case studies, student led tasks and practical workshops and think tanks.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

During taught sessions you will actively engage with key literature and will be encouraged to debate and critique the findings of the latest studies in the field. You will have the opportunity to practice role playing client assessment, and to try out selected exercise promotion strategies on your peers. Verbal feedback will be given on the role-play exercises by the tutor and by your peer group, and you will also be asked to critically reflect upon your own performance. Client case studies will be utilised in class to enable you to practice designing appropriate exercise promotion strategies and to gain feedback on your programme design. When you will be working individually with a client, you will attend a series of think tank sessions with the tutor and your peers. These sessions will be run as client case conferences in which each student will present their client case and will receive input from their peers and the tutor to help them to progress. Outside of formal scheduled teaching, the module tutor and staff teaching team will have office hours available for one to one and/or small group appointments each week. There will also be a discussion board on the module’s Blackboard site, which students can use to engage in discussion with their tutor and peers.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
? 1. Critically discuss the evidence base for the use of exercise as a strategy to improve mental health.
? 2. Critically discuss and apply a range of theories and intervention strategies to address the use of exercise as a health promotion strategy for different client groups.
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
? 3. Design a client centred health promotion programme focused on increasing exercise participation.
Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
? 4. Critically reflect upon personal performance as a behaviour change practitioner (exercise participation) and upon performance feedback provided by others.
? 5. Apply appropriate ethical and professional practice frameworks in the assessment and design of behaviour change in relation to exercise participation

How will I be assessed?

Health Promotion Intervention Presentation and Client Interview.
The assessment will comprise of one submission with two parts:
Part 1 – (50%). The first part of this assessment will be a 10 minute digitally recorded PowerPoint presentation detailing the key evidence for the use of exercise as an intervention for mental health. The presentation will include a critique of relevant behaviour change theories and a proposed intervention strategy. The presentation should make reference to the literature to justify the decisions made in the design of your intervention strategy (MLO 1, 2).
Part 2 – (50%). The second part of the assessment will involve working with a real-life individual client to implement an exercise intervention strategy using motivational interviewing (10 minutes). You will submit an audio recording of your session with the client plus a written personal reflection (incorporating client feedback) on your experience of working as a practitioner (MLO 3, 4, 5).

Formative assessment
Throughout the teaching sessions you will be encouraged to contribute to small group discussions in order to enhance your confidence and understanding of the benefits of exercise for mental health and behaviour change strategies. You will also be required contribute to class discussions and provide written critiques of real-life exercise behaviour change interventions.
Motivational Interviewing, programme design and reflective practice will be addressed during taught sessions. You will have the opportunity to practice these skills in a supportive environment and to receive feedback from your tutor and peers. You will attend designated ‘think tank’ case conference sessions in which you will be able to discuss any difficulties/concerns that you have about designing and implementing your training programme, and will receive input from your peers and tutor.
Written feedback will be provided on summative work. Comments will highlight strengths and ways in which improvements/further development can be made.





Module abstract

Exercise – You don’t have to take it seriously, just regularly! Unfortunately, only a minority of the population are exercising regularly enough to gain health benefits. This module is for students who are interested in health promotion and want to learn how to inspire more people to exercise more often. Designed and taught by academics who are HCPC registered and BPS Chartered and who have experience of delivering real-life health behaviour change interventions, this module will appeal to psychologists who want to work specifically in health promotion, as well as to physiologists who want to increase the exercise uptake and adherence rates of their clinical patients.
A highlight of the module is the opportunity to work, under supervision, with a real client in order to help them to get to incorporate exercise into their life and to learn how to maintain exercise behaviour for long term good health.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years part-time
1 other options available

Department Psychology

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing.

Full time Courses starting in 2023 are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but may include elements of online learning. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to flex accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with additional restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors, potentially to a full online offer, should further restrictions be deemed necessary in future. Our online activity will be delivered through Blackboard Ultra, enabling collaboration, connection and engagement with materials and people.


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