Meet Brent, our exercise physiologist, working from our Tree of Life Nutrition clinic in Woolloongabba. We asked Brent a few questions about the benefits of exercise physiology, and how his services might help you, to improve your health.
What is an Exercise Physiologist?
An Exercise Physiologist (EP) is a university trained allied health professional, who specialises in the benefits of exercise to help improve patients health, by developing individualised programs for the prevention, management and treatment of chronic medical conditions. Additionally, an EP considers the individual and all aspects of their life, to develop sustainable exercise and lifestyle habits that are tailored for their health goals.
What is the importance of exercise and seeing an EP?
Exercise has long been known to have complementary health benefits, and is now being used as a form of medicine in the management of various chronic diseases, and it can also be fun and highly enjoyable. We are born to move, and our bodies rely on this movement to function optimally.
What is the difference between a PT and an EP?
There are big differences between the two professions, not only in terms of education, practical experience and knowledge, but the range of clientele. PT’s are only qualified to deliver fitness programs to persons “at low risk”, meaning people who are already healthy. Whereas EP’s can treat and work with all types of people, from those who wish to improve their health, to patients at risk of developing, or with existing chronic medical conditions or injuries.
In terms of education and experience, an Exercise Physiologist must complete a minimum of 4 years of university study, either undergraduate or post-graduate, within an approved course by the governing body Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA). The degree also includes over 5,000 hours of clinical placement to learn how to apply clinical reasoning and theoretical knowledge for the management or rehabilitation of chronic diseases and injury. Compared to many PT courses, which can take as little as 6 months to complete.
How an EP can help with chronic conditions?
An EP can help with a wide range of conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, cancer treatment recovery, osteoporosis, weight management, and joint and muscle related conditions.
EP’s are also skilled in how medications might affect or be affected by exercise, and specialise in how to safely implement an exercise therapy intervention and improve health outcomes. This will be done to suit your lifestyle to either directly address the chronic disease or health issue, or positively change contributing or predisposing factors. Ongoing review and monitoring of progress will ensure success and adherence to your management plan, to get you back on track to great health.
Weight loss – An EP can assist with weight loss and compliment your dietetics plan by implementing an achievable exercise plan into your lifestyle, which will be both enjoyable and effective. Exercise Physiologists understand the science of exercise and use this knowledge to structure exercise in a way that targets weight loss.
Improved energy – Regular exercise has been proven to drastically improve energy levels and reduce fatigue. Starting an exercise program will enhance the blood flow carrying of oxygen and nutrients to muscle improving their ability to produce more energy.
Osteoporosis – Exercise improves bone strength and density because the development of strong bones occurs through force and impact on the skeleton, from the muscles pulling on them. An EP can assist with this process by ensuring the exercises implemented for an individual with osteoporosis cause this process and the exercises are safe with no falls and fracture risk.
Increased fitness – Regular exercise at the appropriate intensity for an individual improves fitness overtime by increasing VO2max, which is an indicator of a person’s fitness. It measures the amount of oxygen a person can consume and deliver to the various different tissues in the body. As VO2 max improves a person’s fitness level will improve, making exercise more efficient, achieving more exercise easier, and being able to do more activities for a longer period of time in everyday life.
Diabetes – An EP can implement an exercise program that assists the body in using blood sugar without the need for insulin release. As we use our muscles during exercise this signals a process where our muscles will take up the blood sugar and utilise it for energy, without the body needing to produce insulin to transport it to our fat and muscle cells. Exercise assists a person living with diabetes, by causing insulin to work better, which will improve your diabetes management; reducing and/or maintain a healthy weight; lowering blood pressure; reduce your risk of heart disease; and reducing stress.
Brent is available for appointments every Friday at our Woolloongabba clinic. Call us on (07) 3891 6199 to make an appointment to improve your health today!