What is an Exercise Physiologist?

I get asked this question all the time, and many people ask me if it means I am a physio. So I thought I would explain this to clarify what an Exercise Physiologist is and why you might choose to work with one.

What is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist?

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An Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) is a four year minimum degree qualified allied health professional who specialses in the prevention and management of chronic disease and musculoskeletal injuries.

In Australia, an Exercise Physiologist must meet the strict accreditation requirements with the Exercise and Sports Science governing body (ESSA) to call themself an Exercise Physiologist. An Exercise Physiologist is the highest level of exercise health professional after personal trainers and exercise scientists. 

Exercise Physiologists are Allied Health Professionals who work alongside other health professionals to support a person’s overall medical care. Examples of Allied Health Professionals are physiotherapists, chiropractors, dieticians, podiatrists and so on. In Australia, GP’s refer patients to an Exercise Physiologist as part of their health care plan. If you have health insurance, you can also claim for Exercise Physiologist services on most health funds.

Image Credit: LunaMarina from Canva

Image Credit: LunaMarina from Canva

What does an Exercise Physiologist do?

An EP provides specialised exercise and lifestyle support for people with injuries and or chronic conditions and people who are finding it difficult to develop healthy and sustainable lifestyle habits long term.

Conditions may include but are not limited to diabetes, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, obesity, high blood pressure, mental health problems, osteoporosis, stroke and so much more.

Injuries and musculosketal concerns may include injury or pain anywhere in the body that requires physical rehabilitation and may include things such as back pain, neck pain, knee pain and sports injuries.

How is an Exercise Physiologist different to a physiotherapist?

Physio’s treat and manage acute or new onset pain using hands on techniques including joint manipulation, massage, acupuncture and exercise therapy.

An Exercise Physiologist specialises in the use of exercise in the long-term management of an injury or condition and addresses the overall lifestyle and behaviour to sustain lifelong health, longevity, function, energy and vitality. An Exercise Physiologist can develop specific individualised exercise programs to address complex chronic conditions and musculoskeletal injuries, to prevent conditions worsening or injuries re-occuring.

What are the benefits of working with an Exercise Physiologist?

Less pain, less medication, more mobility, increased strength and fitness, more energy, increased quality of life, longer independence and less fear after an injury or the diagnosis of a new condition.  

Read Belinda’s experience of how she moved from extreme chronic pain to getting her life back while working with me.