Exercise physiology is all about delivering safe and effective movement and exercise programs for people who want to improve their health and wellbeing, or who live with a chronic medical condition, injury or disability.
Exercise physiologists mainly work in clinical settings. That means providing supervised exercise programs for people with a disability and those at risk of, heart and lung disease, cancer or clinical obesity.
As a discipline, it encompasses education around health and physical activity alongside advice and support, with the end goal of behaviour change and an improved lifestyle.
What do exercise physiologists do?
Accredited exercise physiologists are university qualified allied health professionals. Their role is to work towards specific health outcomes for people experiencing a range of pathological conditions.
They do that by prescribing individualised exercise programs, that they continually evaluate for safety, effectiveness, and appropriateness. They can also signpost clients to useful recreational opportunities as well as delivering counselling to reduce sedentary behaviours, and to help maintain this new, more active way of life.
In short, exercise physiologists help people to move and exercise their way to a healthier lifestyle.
By collaborating with other healthcare professionals (such as OT, physios, GPs, dietitians and psychologists), exercise physiologists provide rehabilitation services and work with people who have conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and mental health conditions.
Why work with an exercise physiologist?
Research shows that exercise, at the right level for our individual capabilities, improves our function, quality of life, and its duration.
To improve an individual’s health and wellbeing or daily living skills an exercise physiologist will observe how the body responds and adapts to muscular activity, and then create a program to suit.
By working with an exercise physiologist, we can:
- improve movement
- increase strength
- improve general fitness
- improve functional capacity better manage pain improve or maintain our independence
- help regulate emotions maximise quality of life.
Who can benefit from exercise physiology?
If you want to improve your health and wellbeing, and need support to safely and effectively exercise with your condition, then an exercise physiologist can help.
Exercise-based interventions can benefit people with, or at risk of:
- Neurological disease (Including stroke, MS, motor neuron, cerebral palsy)
- Cardiovascular disease (Including heart disease, coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy)
- Pulmonary disease (Including COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis)
- Metabolic disease (Type 2 diabetes)
- Musculoskeletal disease (Including chronic pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, osteopenia)
- Mental health conditions (Including depression and anxiety)
- Cancer (assistance with enhancing quality of life and managing pain)
- Developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder (assistance with motor skill develop and emotional regulation)