It’s a fact of life that we slow down and get more sedentary with age, but as we get older exercise can become even more important.
Exercise doesn’t mean you’ve got to suddenly take up running or pump it out at the gym, but it does mean that incorporating gentle movement every day can make a big difference to your overall health.
However, many older people often start to avoid exercise for different reasons – whether it’s because of health problems, weight or pain issues or concerns about falling.
Benefits of exercise
Getting moving has a lot of benefits for older people living at home, including:
- Boosting your energy
- Reducing the impact of illness and chronic disease
- Weight management
- Reducing the impact of frailty
- Protecting your heart
- Improving mood and memory
- Enhancing mobility and balance
How can I get moving?
If you haven’t been exercising for some time, turning to a professional who can prescribe exercises to suit your needs and level of fitness is a good idea. But which professionals can help? While physiotherapists often develop exercise programs to rehabilitate an injury, an exercise physiologist is a specialist who can develop an exercise plan to help you with your current and ongoing goals.
What is an Exercise Physiologist?
An Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP) holds a four-year equivalent university degree and specialises in the exercise and movement for the prevention and management of chronic diseases and injuries. AEPs provide support for people with a range of medical conditions, including:
- cardiovascular disease
- osteoporosis and arthritis
- mental health conditions
- cancer and cancer treatment recovery
- chronic pain and fatigue
- post-surgical rehabilitation (ACL reconstruction, hip/knee replacement)
- neuromuscular exercise therapy (multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease)
- pulmonary disease and more
Exercise physiologists can work with you to develop a balanced exercise plan that can work with any health restrictions you have to help build strength, balance, flexibility and cardio stamina.
How do accredited exercise physiologists differ from other exercise professionals such as personal trainers?
The differences are:
- They are university qualified
- They undertake strict accreditation requirements
- They are eligible to register with Medicare Australia, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and WorkCover and are recognised by most private health insurers
- They can treat and work with all types of people, those who want to improve their health and wellbeing to those, unfortunately, suffering from a chronic illness.
Accredited Exercise Physiologists are different as they possess extensive knowledge, skills and experience in clinical exercise delivery and can provide health modification counselling for people with chronic disease and injury.
Achieve Exercise Physiologists’ Director Troy Burgess says that he became an exercise physiologist after a family member passed away from a health problem that could have been prevented.
“I felt helpless knowing at the time that it was too late and that I couldn’t help them change anything. Part of the reason I pursued this career and started Achieve was to provide a service to help others prevent health conditions from affecting them and their family and friends,” says Troy.
“Helping people to improve their quality of life and being with them while they reach their goals inspires me every day. Our clients are a constant reminder of why exercise is so important.”