What is an Exercise Physiologist?

Exercise physiologists are at a minimum, four-year university degree qualified allied health professionals that have specialized knowledge in the field of exercise and sports science, anatomy, human physiology, and disease processes. They are equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies to design, deliver and evaluate safe and effective exercise interventions for people with acute, sub-acute or chronic medical conditions, injuries, persistent pain, or disabilities.

Please visit the Exercise and Sports Science Australia website for more information.

Who can Exercise Physiologists help?

An Exercise Physiologist’s skillset allows them to provide services to people across the full health spectrum, from healthy populations to those at risk of developing a health condition, and those with existing health conditions such as:

Pathology domains covered by the services of exercise physiologists include:

  • Cancers
  • Cardiovascular
  • Kidney
  • Mental Health
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Neurological
  • Persistent pain
  • Pulmonary/Respiratory
  • Any other conditions for which there is evidence that exercise can improve the client’s clinical status

Athletes and Healthy Populations

Exercise Physiologists are trained in anatomy, physiology, strength and conditioning, and the scientific principles that underpin how our bodies and minds respond and adapt to exercise and mind-body activities for supporting athletes to achieve their peak performance. For high-performance athletes, exercise physiologists can help with everything from improving endurance and strength, to optimizing recovery and preventing injury. They work closely with coaches, trainers, and other health professionals to ensure that every aspect of an athlete’s training program is optimized for maximum performance.

Exercise physiologists can use a range of tools and techniques to assess an athlete’s fitness level, including fitness testing, movement analysis, and cardiopulmonary exercise testing. With this information, they can develop a training program that is designed to push the athlete’s limits while minimising the risk of injury or overtraining.

Whether someone is a professional athlete, a weekend warrior, or just someone who wants to improve their fitness level, our exercise physiologists can help them reach their goals. By combining our expertise in human physiology with the latest advances in exercise science, our exercise physiologists can support our clients to achieve the best possible results from their training program.

Workers

Exercise Physiologists are also able to perform Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE) that support medical professionals with objective information to assist in making decisions on the physical health of workers. This includes the delivery of a comprehensive battery of tests incorporating a variety of measures to test a healthy and/or injured worker’s functional capacity.

Benefits of seeing an Exercise Physiologist

Engaging in support from an Exercise Physiologist can lead to:

Improvements in:

  • Balance and mobility
  • Bone density
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness and function
  • Cognition (concentration, memory, and thinking)
  • Community access
  • Coordination and dexterity
  • Confidence to move and do more safely
  • Emotional wellbeing, mood, and mental health (e.g. symptoms of anxiety and depression)
  • Energy levels
  • Flexibility and range of motion (ROM)
  • Functional capacity
  • Immune function
  • Independence in activities of daily living (ADLs) and occupations
  • Motivation for a healthy and meaningful lifestyle
  • Muscular Strength and Endurance
  • Posture and movement patterns
  • Pain management
  • Recovery timeframes following surgery and/or injury
  • Self-management of health, well-being, and quality of life
  • Sleep hygiene and quality
  • Spasticity, stiffness, and contractures
  • Sports and athletic performance
  • Understanding of health condition/s and appropriate self-management
  • Weight loss

Reductions in:

  • Development and/or progression of chronic disease
  • Need for invasive and expensive treatments such as surgery
  • Need for medication for management of health conditions
  • Risk of falls, injury, and re-aggravation of existing injuries

Support in:

  • Goal setting for the ability to achieve important life goals
  • Healthy body composition management
  • Maintenance of a healthy, meaningful, and active lifestyle
  • Management of chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity

What is involved in an Exercise Physiology session? 

Before an exercise physiologist prescribes an exercise program they will conduct an initial assessment in which they seek to understand an individual’s medical history, lifestyle behaviours, mood and mental health, and goals in conjunction with physical assessments and analysis of biomechanics, movement patterns, functional capacity, strength, flexibility, fitness, mobility, balance, and endurance. This will provide the exercise physiologist with the information they need to develop an individualised exercise and activity program that is safe and appropriate for each person, and inform any referral to other health professionals they feel would support an individual’s recovery.

Through the prescription of tailored exercise interventions, as well as ongoing counselling, health coaching, education, and support, our exercise physiologists aim to create lasting behaviour and lifestyle changes to improve overall health, fitness, function in activities of daily living, wellbeing, independence, capacity for work and quality of life. We get to know our clients to understand the areas in which they would like support, strategies, and empowerment to achieve their goals, and to facilitate as much independence and self-management of their health condition as desired. We work with individuals, as well as their families and other support team members such as support coordinators, support workers, treating medical team members, family, and other allied health clinicians to ensure that a holistic understanding is shared among the care team for respectful, collaborative, and evidence-based healthcare.

There are a wide range of therapies/services that an exercise physiologist may utilise and/or include in an individual’s therapy plan, including but not limited to:

  • Aerobic exercise
  • Balance and coordination exercises
  • Breathing and relaxation exercises
  • Client and condition specific education
  • Core strength and endurance exercises
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Graded motor imagery therapy
  • Holistic pain management strategies
  • Mind-body exercises
  • Mindfulness strategies/techniques
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Postural correction exercises
  • Resistance training exercise

Exercise Physiology services provided at Thriving Lives Co.

  • Corporate Healthcare:
    • Ergonomic assessments
    • Manual handling training
    • Pre-Employment Functional Capacity Evaluations
    • Wellness programs
  • Exercise equipment prescription
  • Group Exercise Physiology
    • Coming Soon
  • Gym-based exercise programming
  • Hydrotherapy/Aquatic Therapy
  • Individual therapy involving:
    • Education
    • Exercise prescription
    • Health coaching, behaviour change counselling, and motivational interviewing
    • Supervised exercise
  • Pilates-based exercise programming
  • Sport Specific training
  • Strength and conditioning

Our team of exercise physiologists are available at a variety of our clinic locations throughout Far North Queensland as well as within the community by visiting homes, pools, gyms, and schools, in addition to telehealth to ensure that the exercise intervention development and reviews will occur in the location that supports realistic and meaningful change in the client’s life.

Referral Pathways

Exercise Physiology services can be funded by Australian compensable schemes/pathways including:

Through these compensable schemes, Exercise Physiologists are able to support individuals to improve their functional capacity and participation in activities at home, school, work, and in the community.

What is special about a Thriving Lives Co. Exercise Physiologist?

  • We are all about empowering our clients to support them to be as independent in their personalised therapy as possible based on their needs and preferences. So, we work with everyone in our client’s lives to help support their development, autonomy, and independence.
  • We genuinely care about our clients and will commit the time required to truly understand our client’s needs to be able to deliver the most effective holistic, evidence-based healthcare for each individual.
  • We love what we do, which means when we are with our clients, we are having fun and doing everything in our power to help make it as fun and enjoyable as possible for everyone.
  • We appreciate that even though we are experts of human anatomy and physiology, our clients are the experts of their own health and life experiences, so we aim to speak less and listen more
  • We are humble and brave, so if we aren’t the right person to help or we don’t know how to help, we will refer our client to someone who can, or do more research and/or training to be able to help next time.
  • We are constantly reviewing the latest research to maintain our commitment to evidence-based practice to give ourselves and our clients the confidence that their healthcare is based upon the most reliable and valid information available to deliver the best care possible.
  • We all share a growth mindset so we love seeking out and receiving feedback and we take every opportunity we can to learn from our mistakes to become the best therapists that we can be.
  • We are constantly striving for excellence in the way we do things as a healthcare team, this is why we are always innovating and adapting to suit the needs of our clients and our community.
  • We really value teamwork and collaboration, and we are lucky enough to be able to work closely with a wide variety of skilled and experienced allied health professionals in our team to give our clients a broad interdisciplinary perspective and approach in their therapy.

Governance and Scope of Practice

All of our Exercise Physiologists achieve and maintain accreditation with their governing accreditation body, Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) via an ongoing commitment to evidence-based practice, continuous quality improvement, and professional development by meeting benchmarks established by the National Alliance of Self-Regulating Health Professions (NASRH).

For more information regarding the scope of practice of an Exercise Physiologist please see the Accredited Exercise Physiologist Scope of Practice document which can be downloaded via the Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) website here.