As part of their role, Exercise Physiologists educate their patients about body mechanics, ergonomics, safe manual handling and lifting, and injury prevention. These sorts of exercise and education programs really allow patients to take an active part in managing their own health.
Patients are often referred to an AEP after surgery and are provided with specific, tailored post-operative rehabilitation programs. These programs are often developed in consultation with their treating doctors, and are based on up-to-date research evidence. Exercise physiologist’s co-ordinate care with your whole health team so everyone who is looking after you can be on the same page. AEPs work with their patients well beyond the acute or early stages of rehabilitation and can help progress you to full function and beyond by strengthening and stabilising the relevant areas with exercise.
Exercise physiologists aim to improve your overall health.
Exercise physiologists should not be confused with fitness trainers and instructors (including personal trainers) or athletic trainers. Exercise Physiologists are required to complete a minimum of four years at university, at both a graduate (Bachelor) and post-graduate (Masters) level. This provides qualification as both an Accredited Exercise Scientist, and then an Accredited Exercise Physiologist with the national regulatory body ESSA (Exercise and Sport Science Australia). By completing extensive study and over 500 hours of placement, Exercise Physiologists possess in-depth knowledge of the human body and how it responds to exercise. In comparison, Personal Trainers are required to complete certificate level education which can range anywhere from two weeks to twelve months for them to become qualified, including 50 hours of experience with healthy populations only.
Personal Trainers typically prescribe exercise for ‘healthy populations’, assisting those without medical conditions or injuries to stay fit and well with an exercise program. Exercise Physiologists are also able to see ‘healthy populations’, as well as care for people with musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiovascular, mental health, cancer and metabolic conditions. If you currently have a health concern, it’s recommended that your exercise and lifestyle advice should be coming from someone who is qualified to manage them and know exactly what exercise science can help your health condition.
Seeing an Exercise Physiologist will ensure that the other members of your healthcare team (doctors, specialists, surgeons, allied health) are notified of your assessment findings and progress along the way. The benefits of your different health professionals working together results in the best possible outcomes for you. Exercise Physiologists are recognised as allied health practitioners, therefore you may be eligible for Medicare and private health rebates.