What is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist?

So often when i tell people that i am an Exercise Physiologist, they ask me what that means.IMG_6924
“So you’re a physiotherapist?” …… not quite.
“So you’re a personal trainer?”…… not quite.

An Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) is an allied health professional, with a 4yr university degree that specialises in the delivery of exercise programs for the management, treatment or prevention of chronic disease, illness and injury. We can also design programs for those who are at risk of developing a chronic condition.

AEP’s are recognised under Medicare, DVA, Workcover and most private health insurance companies.

So, what does an AEP do?

  • Prescribe and design personalised exercise programs including strength, flexibility, cardio, balance and mobility.
  • Teach you how to perform exercises safely and correctly.
  • Teach you to activate your “core” and the importance of your deep abdominal muscles.
  • Assess any muscular weaknesses and poor movement patterns that may increase your risk of injury or cause you injury.
  • Use exercise in the rehabilitation of an injury or chronic pain
  • Manage chronic disease through exercise
  • Encourage and facilitate movement into your everyday life.
  • Motivate and educate you on positive lifestyle changes.IMG_5828.jpg

Who can an AEP help?

An AEP has quite a large scope of practice. In a lot of studios, each practitioner will specialise with specific conditions and injuries.

Typically AEPs use exercise to deal with:

  • Diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and dyslipidaemia’s
  • Hypertension, coronary artery disease and other heart conditions
  • Musculoskeletal conditions such as chronic lower back pain, neck pain, scoliosis or chronic injuries.
  • Pre and post natal exercise
  • Post operative rehabilitation e.g. post total knee or hip replacement
  • Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis
  • Mental illnesses

and many more!

What is involved when i see an Exercise Physiologist?

This will vary from practice to practice however, typically a session will involve:

  1. Initial assessment discussing current health status, exercise history and goals
  2. Anthropometry assessment such as waist circumference and blood pressure
  3. Physical assessment to determine your current abilities and help your AEP design an appropriate plan.
  4. Discussion about how exercise can help you
  5. Where to from here? Is there a group class you can join? A home program? A walking group? Join a gym program?IMG_5817.jpg

How is an AEP different to a Physiotherapist?

A Physiotherapist is trained to assess, diagnose and treat injuries or disabilities that affect movement and the function of your body. An AEP cannot diagnose an injury but has the skills to use exercise to manage, rehabilitate and prevent injuries. In an ideal world, AEPs and Physio’s work together for best treatment.