Role of Counseling to Promote Adherence in Healthy Lifestyle Medicine: Strategies to Improve Exercise Adherence and Enhance Physical Activity

Prog Cardiovasc Dis. Mar-Apr 2017;59(5):455-462. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2016.09.003. Epub 2016 Sep 14.


Although healthy lifestyles (HL) offer a number of health benefits, nonadherence to recommended lifestyle changes remains a frequent and difficult obstacle to realizing these benefits. Behavioral counseling can improve adherence to an HL. However, individuals' motivation for change and resistance to altering unhealthy habits must be considered when developing an effective approach to counseling. In the present article, we review psychological, behavioral, and environmental factors that may promote adherence and contribute to nonadherence. We discuss two established models for counseling, motivational interviewing and the transtheoretical model of behavior change, and provide an example of how these approaches can be used to counsel patients to exercise and increase their levels of physical activity.

Keywords: Adherence; Behavioral counseling; Exercise; Motivational interviewing; Stages of change; Transtheoretical model.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Counseling* / methods
  • Counseling* / organization & administration
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Healthy Lifestyle*
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Patient Compliance / psychology*