People come to see an Exercise Physiologist for a wide range of health and fitness services.
Some use exercise for the effective treatment of a chronic health condition such as diabetes, asthma, or cardiovascular disease, some may seek treatment for chronic pain and musculo-skeletal rehabilitation, and others may be looking to improve their fitness or athletic performance. Regardless of why you come to see an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, you can trust that they have the expert knowledge to prescribe a specialised exercise program to suit you.
What is an Exercise Physiologist?
An Accredited Exercise Physiologist is an allied health professional who prescribes exercise for preventing and managing chronic diseases and injuries, as well as improving health and performance. Basically, they’re experts in all things exercise and their level of knowledge and skill means they are registered Allied Health Providers recognised by Medicare and Private Health funds.
Is EP the same as Physio?
The key difference between an EP and a Physio, is that a Physiotherapist works primarily in the acute management of injuries and musculoskeletal imbalances and may use manual therapy or joint manipulation as part of their treatment. Physiotherapists are also able to diagnose musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, whereas EP’s use Exercise as Medicine to address long-term, management, prevention and improved performance.
EP or Personal Trainer?
Seeing a Personal Trainer is a great way to incorporate exercise into your life! Fitness instructors and personal trainers are qualified to deliver exercise programs to healthy populations, however if you have niggles, injuries, a chronic health condition or want performance optimisation, the role of an Exercise Physiologist is to prescribe exercise specifically around your conditions to help you meet your health and fitness goals.
Exercise as Medicine
Hopefully you’re well aware of how great exercise is for the management of Type 2 Diabetes. It’s so powerful, that if exercise were a drug it would be the most widely prescribed medication in the world.
Specifically for Diabetes, exercise:
- Improves cardiovascular health and fitness
- Decreases the risk of diabetes-related complications
- Improve physical function and independence
- Improves the blood supply and glucose delivery to muscles, resulting in effective use of energy from the diet
- Decreases risk of cardiovascular complications by improving risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Helps manage and maintain effective blood glucose levels
- Decreases the doses of medications or insulin required
- Improves quality of life and mental health
- Increasing physical activity can reduce the incidence of T2DM by almost 60% in people at risk
While it’s true that any physical activity is better than none, not all exercise is created equal. Just like with medication, there is a specific “dose” of exercise that can be prescribed, monitored and adapted for each individual for them to get all the great benefits of exercise for Type 2 Diabetes.
Why see an EP?
You might have guessed where this is all heading… That’s right – an Exercise Physiologist is the health professional that can prescribe the right dose of exercise for you to manage Type 2 Diabetes, as well as improve all areas of your health and wellbeing.
Your EP will peform an assessment to gain a thorough understanding of your health, physical capacity and goals. This may include education about Type 2 Diabetes or discussing other health conditions, injuries, aches and pains. They will also get to know your lifestyle, current level of physical activity, what you do and don’t enjoy doing, and what you would like to achieve through exercise. They use all that information to develop an exercise program for you. No templates, fads or expensive equipment, just evidence-based exercise prescription. Then the real magic happens and your EP monitors the way your body responds to the exercise and modifies the program to ensure you’re continually progressing and getting the benefits.
Here are a few more reasons to see an Exercise Physiologist…
As qualified health profressionals, Exercise Physiologists have an in-depth understanding of anatomy, physiology, and contra-indications for exercise. That means that your EP is familiar with medications used in the management of Diabetes, the effects of food and exercise on blood glucose levels, and the potential risks of Diabetes such as neuropathy. Especially for people newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, exercise can be daunting, but the supervision of Exercise Physiologist can ensure you are not at risk of Diabetes-related complications.
They’re not just experts in exercise for Diabetes, they know about a whole range of health conditions! Common co-morbidities for people with Diabetes include High Blood Pressure, Cardiovascular Disease and joint pain. An Exercise Physiologist is able to use exercise to manage multiple conditions at once and can help get you moving without aggravating things like achy knees and stiff lower backs. They really are experts in exercise!
Motivation & Adherence
Even if you’ve never really been into sport or exercise, an Exercise Physiologist can help you find movement that you enjoy. They love problem solving and know that going to a gym isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so they have a whole arsenal of physical activity ready for you to try. Whenever we try something new or challenge ourselves in a new way, it can be difficult to maintain motivation and adhere to something long enough for it to become a habit. An Exercise Physiologist is your cheerleader and coach, they understand the process of behaviour change and don’t expect progress to be in a straight line. If something doesn’t work, instead of throwing in the towel, they can help you find alternatives and keep moving forward. If you’ve tried to kick start an exercise regime before and haven’t been able to make it stick, an Exercise Physiologist is exactly what you need!
How much does it cost?
The great thing about seeing an Exercise Physiologist is that they are recognised by Medicare and Private Health funds. Your Exercise Physiologist will work with you to create a plan that suits your lifestyle and budget so that it is sustainable.
Eligible patients with Type 2 Diabetes can receive Medicare rebates for individual and group Exercise Physiology services. Find out more about individual sessions under Medicare’s Enhanced Primary Care Plan or the Type 2 Diabetes Group Exercise Program.