Exercise physiologist training a client

What is an Exercise Physiologist

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You may have heard of them, but what is an Exercise Physiologist? Accredited exercise physiologists (AEPs) are university-qualified allied health professionals who have the knowledge, skills and competencies to design, deliver and assess safe and effective exercise interventions. An Exercise Physiologist is an allied health professional who specialises in the delivery of exercise and lifestyle interventions for persons at risk of developing, or with existing chronic and complex medical conditions and injuries and disabilities.

What conditions can Exercise Physiology help with?

AEPs are skilled in providing services relating to a broad range of pathologies, including:

  • Cardiovascular diseases (disorders of the heart and blood vessels including coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, rheumatic heart disease and other conditions)
  • Metabolic disease (haemochromatosis, Hashimoto’s disease, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism)
  • Neurological (multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy)
  • Musculoskeletal (acute and chronic injury, pain conditions, chronic pain)
  • Cancers
  • Kidney disease
  • Respiratory/pulmonary disease (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, occupational lung diseases and pulmonary hypertension)
  • Mental health (depression, stress, anxiety)
  • Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis
  • Any other conditions for which there is evidence that exercise can improve an individual’s clinical status (weight management)

What services can Exercise Physiologists provide?

AEPs apply evidence-based judgement and clinical reasoning to individuals, groups, and the broader community to:

  • Improve and maintain health status and function
  • Prevent decline of health status
  • Prevent, treat, and manage health conditions (including diseases, disorders, traumas and injuries), including complex, chronic conditions
  • Screen, assess, and measure capacity and function for activities of daily living and work-related activities, and to inform interventions
  • Prescribe, deliver, adapt, and evaluate movement, physical activity, and exercise-based interventions to:
    • Enhance and maintain function and quality of life
    • Facilitate recovery and promote reablement
    • Maximise independence
  • Educate and advise about health and well-being and how physical activity and exercise can improve health outcomes
  • Empower people to improve health outcomes and self-manage health conditions
  • Coach and motivate to increase engagement and self-efficacy in treatment and physical activity, including addressing client preferences, needs, barriers, and goals
Exercise Physiology Brisbane

Why Choose an AEP?

  1. Evidence-Based Practice: AEPs base their recommendations on the latest scientific research, ensuring that their interventions are safe and effective.
  2. Personalized Approach: Each exercise program is tailored to the individual, taking into consideration their unique needs, abilities, and goals.
  3. Safety First: With a deep understanding of anatomy, physiology, and exercise science, AEPs prioritize the safety of their clients, particularly those with chronic conditions or injuries.
  4. Long-Term Health Benefits: Regular exercise under the guidance of an AEP can lead to significant improvements in health outcomes, including reduced risk of chronic disease, improved cardiovascular health, weight management, and enhanced mental well-being.

Where can I find an AEP?

AEPs work in a number of environments, including but not limited to:

  • Private and multidisciplinary clinics
  • Public and private hospitals
  • Workplace health and rehabilitation
  • Aged care/disability
  • Fitness centres, gymnasiums, business
  • Sporting settings
  • Policy & leadership
  • Education
  • Research

Sportsplus now has a team of Exercise Physiologists who are available to help you with your exercise plan and rehab.

What compensable health care services can AEPs deliver?

  • Medicare
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA)
  • Workers compensation (i.e. WorkCover QLD)
  • National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
  • Private health insurance (PHI)

What does it mean to be ‘accredited’?

Exercise & Sports Science Australia is the peak professional body and sole accrediting authority for Accredited Exercise Physiologists. To gain accreditation with ESSA an individual must:

  • Graduate from a minimum 4 years of study in an ESSA-accredited course
  • Meet the professional standards for exercise science, leading to accreditation as an Accredited Exercise Scientist (AES)*
    • 140 hours of practical experience with clients to improve health and fitness, wellbeing or performance, or prevent chronic conditions
  • Meet the professional standards for exercise physiology
    • 360 hours of practical experience with clients with clinical conditions

*AEPs are dual accredited, holding the foundational accreditation of AES in addition to their AEP status.

To maintain accreditation with ESSA, an AEP is required to:

  • Hold and maintain a valid first aid and CPR certificate
  • Hold and maintain appropriate professional indemnity insurance
  • Complete an annual continuing professional program on an annual basis
  • Uphold the ESSA Code of Professional Conduct and Ethical Practice

Where can I find more information on Exercise Physiologists?

To find out more about Exercise Physiologists or what they can do to help you, here are some other websites that can be useful.

Exercise Right Australia

Exercise is Medicine (American College of Sports Medicine)

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA)

You can also contact our admin team and we can answer any questions you might have about Exercise Physiology.

References

  1. Exercise and Sports Science Australia. (2023). What is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP)? https://www.essa.org.au/Public/Public/Consumer_Information/What_is_an_Accredited_Exercise_Physiologist_.aspx
  2. Exercise and Sports Science Australia. (2021). Accredited Exercise Physiologist Scope Of Practice. https://www.essa.org.au/Public/Professional_Standards/ESSA_Scope_of_Practice_documents.aspx
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