Demeanour Of Leader

The demeanour of the leader is a significant factor in the success of CR, and is regarded by the American College of Sports Medicine (2000) as a major factor in enhancing exercise adherence (Cohen-Mansfield, et al., 2004). The exercise leader must create a happy, pleasant and welcoming atmosphere that is inclusive of the entire group. The leader and other CR professionals should acknowledge people in the class. It can be difficult to remember class members' names. Badges can help the leader recall names and also help class members learn each other's names. This encourages integration into the group, a step which the American College of Sports Medicine (2000) further acknowledges fosters social support, which in turn supports long-term adherence to CR programmes. Furthermore, the leader must appear happy and enthusiastic, with a tone of voice and facial expressions that are positive and upbeat (see more in Chapter 6).

Teaching Skills for Exercise Classes OBSERVATION AND EYE CONTACT

Observation of the class members is a vital skill in exercise leadership. It is the responsibility of all the health professionals involved in the class to observe participants. Observation has many purposes (observation is covered in more detail in Chapter 3, pp. 85-8):

• identifying poor exercise technique;

• identifying subjects over-exercising or exercise abuse;

• recognising safety issues during class, e.g. participants too close to each other;

• assessing performance of group and individuals;

It is important that the leader is a vigilant observer, as exercise classes are dynamic; exercise situations and participants change constantly. There should be action taken by observers and class leader in response to the observation.

Eye contact and observing facial expressions of the participants are important for engaging class members, making them feel involved and included. One way to do this is to 'eye scan' during the class. Try not to focus on one person or one group but to scan class members, moving your eye contact round all class members. Eye and facial observation also assists in observation of participants' facial expressions to monitor their exercise effort. Over-exercising or discomfort can often be recognised from participants' facial expressions.

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