Accredited exercise physiologists (AEPs) hold a four-year university degree and are allied health professionals who specialize in the delivery of exercise for the prevention and management of injury and chronic disease. AEPs provide support for clients with conditions such as low back pain, whiplash, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, mental health problems, cancer, pulmonary disease, and more. AEPs are registered with Medicare Australia, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Workcover and are recognized by most private health insurers.
Why see an Exercise Physiologist?
In today’s environment where the market is cluttered with self-declared ’experts’, Accredited Exercise Physiologists are the only people with a 4-year university degree to back up their claim. Exercise Physiologists provide a treatment plan that considers an individual’s current fitness level, preferences, existing health conditions and the effect of associated medications. The focus of the plan is to improve mobility, fitness and overall health.
Exercise Physiology and Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes is the more common form of diabetes, affecting 85-90% of all people with diabetes. While it usually affects older adults, more and more young people, even children, are developing Type 2 Diabetes. In Type 2 Diabetes the pancreas produces insulin but the body’s cells do not respond effectively to the insulin and so do not take up the blood glucose and store it as energy. This results in a build-up of glucose in the blood.
Poorly controlled blood glucose leads to serious complications, such as heart, kidney and eye diseases, and an increased risk of premature death. Correct exercise prescription can reduce blood glucose level for up to 48 hours following a bout of exercise, lowers average blood glucose over a 3 month period (HbA1c) and improves insulin sensitivity.
As well as better blood glucose control, exercise helps decrease body fat and cardiovascular disease risk, and increase aerobic fitness in people with Type 2 Diabetes. Increasing physical activity can reduce the incidence of people at risk of Type 2 Diabetes progressing to a formal diagnosis by almost 60%, while those already diagnosed can achieve dramatic improvements in their health (even to the point where they no longer fit the diagnostic criteria!) through exercise training.
Learn More: Diabetes Management
How much exercise is enough for Type 2 Diabetes?
Those with Type 2 Diabetes are advised to engage in aerobic (e.g. walking, running, cycling) and resistance training (e.g. lifting weights). Ideally you would carry out 5-6 hours of exercise a week including at least 2 x 30 minute sessions of resistance training.
A recent client with Type 2 Diabetes lost 30kg in 8 months while working with an Ethos Health Exercise Physiologist. The treatment plan included a combination of home and clinic-based exercise, and a plan to increase incidental daily physical activity. He reduced his BGL to normal levels and could stop his diabetes medication.
Exercise Physiology and Sports Injury Rehabilitation
Injuries that occur on the sports field can be divided into three phases:
- The acute phase (immediately following the injury), where a GP, sports physician or physiotherapist provide a diagnosis and management plan to settle pain and inflammation
- The repair phase, where damaged soft tissues or bone are repared over the course of 4-6 weeks
- The remodelling phase (long term recovery back to full strength and function)
Once the acute symptoms have resolved an Accredited Exercise Physiologist can tailor an exercise based injury treatment and management plan to ensure:
- Reduced recovery time
- Maintenance of a healthy weight as you recover
- Reduced risk of re-injury
- Improved functional capacity and injury prevention strategies
We recently saw a junior representative soccer player with lumbar spine stress fractures who had been treated with physiotherapy in the acute phase and then referred for Exercise Physiology treatment. Within six Exercise Physiology sessions he was back to his normal training load, playing soccer and not experiencing any back pain.
Exercise Physiology and Arthritis
Research shows that exercise can help people with a wide range of arthritic pain. Exercise is as effective in relieving symptoms as anti-inflammatory drugs, but has fewer side effects.
An Accredited Exercise Physiologist will tailor an exercise program to ensure the benefits of exercise are achieved with minimal impact on affected joints. Exercise will help:
- Reduce pain and fatigue
- Increase muscle strength
- Improve the range of joint movement
- Improve balance
- Prevent loss of muscle fibres
- Improve physical function
- Improve wellbeing
A 65-year-old man attended our clinic with pain affecting his left shoulder, lower back, hips, knees and feet. He also had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was significantly overweight. His program focused on low impact exercise and body weight strengthening exercises, performed at home and during regular clinic visits. After 12 months, he has substantially reduced his pain, has improved his strength, and as a bonus lost 20kg of body weight and 21cm from his waist.