In private practice, I often utilize steps from the Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) program developed by Dr. Stephen Ilardi. TLC is a 6-step program aimed at enhancing six key areas of your lifestyle in order to combat mental health problems. Originally developed for the treatment of depression, TLC is now often used in the treatment of other mental health conditions as well as overall holistic mind-body wellness.
Presented below is an overview of Step 3 in the TLC program: Physical Activity.
Exercise actually changes the brain by increasing the activity of chemicals like serotonin and dopamine. In the TLC program, finding a meaningful and purposegul approach to physical activity is encouraged. Before begining a new exercise regimen, consult with your doctor. To be in-line with TLC, follow these goals for increasing your physical activity:
1. Aerobic exercise (i.e., jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, climbing stairs, etc.) at least 30 minutes 3 times per week.
2. Purchase heart rate monitor or learn to reliably take you heart rate. Refer to the Maximum Heart Rate by Age chart to understand where your heart rate should fall to achieve aerobic exercise. It typically takes an additional 5 minutes of initial exercise to reach aerobic range. Start counting towards the 30 mintues after this initial warm-up period.
3. If you are feeling unenthusiastic about exercising, spend your energy only on activities that have a clear purpose (i.e., cleaning, gardening, riding bike to a destination, etc.).
4. Also, consider making your exercise routine a social activity and/or incorporating uplifting music.
5. Create an exercise schedule and make it a routine. Hold yourself accountable.
6. Avoid ending late. Finish your exercise at least 2 hours before bedtime.
7. *Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise regimen.*
Check out this video to learn more about the importance of physical activity on mental health.
Ilardi, Stephen. (2009). The Depression Cure. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.
Holland Miller, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist, provides individual and group therapy for adolescents and adults in Austin, TX. Specializing in the treatment of depression, chronic low mood, and chronic stress, she incorporates cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLCs) to enhance positive mood, healthy functioning, and overall well-being.
Dr. Miller is particularly passionate about working with adolescent girls and adult women who want to boost their mood and energy, improve their self-esteem and relationships with others, better cope with stress while reducing anxiety and tension, and develop healthy lifestyle habits for lasting wellness.
When she is not in the office, Dr. Miller enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter, and two mischievous goldendoodles. She can be found discovering the latest Austin adventure, reading and researching, exploring the outdoors on hiking and camping trips, and trying out new recipes.
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