Health coaching is a structured, supportive partnership between you and a health coach that helps you take action and achieve the health you desire. Health coaching uses innovative and practical strategies to help you clarify what you want for your health, and gain the insight to achieve it. There are lots of benefits to your health from health coaching. Here are a few ways health coaching has been scientifically proven to improve health and well being.
Health coaching helps with weight loss (including maintenance).
Several studies have shown the benefit of health coaching for weight loss.
In a study looking at health coaching for weight management, the health coaching program significantly lowered body mass index (BMI) at 3, 6 and 12 months among over 5000 participants. Changes in BMI ranged from about a 1% reduction to a 7% reduction.
In another study, participants who took part in a telephone health coaching program had a downward trend in BMI in the 12 months after their first coaching session. This resulted in a loss of 5 to 7 pounds without medications or complicated diet and exercise routines. This was an improvement over the year prior to the beginning of the coaching program; during that year participants had a significant upward trend in BMI.
When it comes to the difficult task of maintaining weight loss, health coaching can help there as well. In a study evaluating strategies to maintain weight loss, coaching via the internet plus a small monetary reward, resulted in a loss of 4 additional pounds (on average) following a period of weight loss. In contrast, the participants who received the usual weight maintenance strategies gained nearly 8 pounds.
Health coaching improves your physical and mental health.
Research shows that health coaching has a powerful impact on your physical and mental health.
A study of 4800 people examined the relationship between health coaching and three factors - positive health behaviors, optimism and life satisfaction. Health coaching had a positive effect on all three. And, these results lasted over the course of a year.
Among almost 300 university employees who took part in a 3 month health coaching program, there were significant improvements in both physical and mental health. Similar employees who didn’t take part in the coaching program did not experience any improvement during the 3 month period.
The positive effects of health coaching have even been demonstrated during times of stress. A study with over 700 participants looked at the effects of health coaching for people who were directly or indirectly affected by Hurricane Sandy. After health coaching, people felt better about their health, and they reported having an easier time managing health issues.
Health coaching improves outcomes if you have chronic health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure.
Health coaching is very beneficial if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
In a review of 13 studies, many benefits were found from health coaching for people with chronic conditions. Recipients of health coaching managed their weight better, had increased physical activity, and their physical and mental status was improved compared to those who didn’t have health coaching.
Health coaching has been shown to be a highly effective strategy for addressing heart disease. In a study of ~800 patients with heart disease, those who received health coaching had substantial improvements in their cholesterol, risk factors for heart disease, and quality of life.
A study including about 6000 people showed striking results among those with chronic conditions and heart failure. In these groups, the telephone health coaching recipients were significantly less likely to die over the course of the 2 year study period.
Other areas of benefit.
Health coaching results actually last.
The great thing about health coaching is that unlike many methods to improve health, the results usually last. A study specifically examining the long term effect of health coaching saw benefits persist a year after coaching had ended.
If you're looking for a proven way to improve your health, and not just your physical health, but your emotional health too; and you want to do it without new medications or complicated routines, give health coaching a try!