A guide to understanding exercise physiology

Ever wondered about the difference between a Physiotherapist and Exercise Physiologist?

Read on to learn more about Exercise Physiology and how we can help you achieve your fitness goals!

What exactly is Exercise Physiology?

Let’s break down the term to get a working definition: exercise + physiology.

Exercises are physical activities carried out to improve fitness and wellbeing, while physiology is a branch of biology concerned with how the human body functions.

From these two definitions, you can already see that Exercise Physiology is focused on how exercise affects the body.

Practitioners of this Allied Health discipline are called Exercise Physiologists who are trained to assess your ability and develop an exercise program that takes your health goals into consideration. They can also help you understand how each workout can benefit your body, and devise healthy eating and lifestyle modification programs so you can experience the benefits even after your sessions with your Exercise Physiologist.

What is clinical Exercise Physiology?

Exercise Physiologists can work in a variety of clinical and non-clinical settings. At Better Rehab, our Exercise Physiologists are clinically trained to work with participants of all ages and abilities. While the general definition of an Exercise Physiologist might get you to think about personal trainers and gym instructors—who can also coach and guide you through exercise—clinical Exercise Physiologists go beyond concerns about fitness and look at how physical movement can prevent and manage chronic diseases, disabilities and injuries.

What is Exercise Physiology in sport?

In a sports setting, an Exercise Physiologist can be on hand to ensure an athlete can safely do exercises without getting injured, or without worsening an injury.

Who can benefit from Exercise Physiology?

Anyone who would like to improve their overall fitness, improve their mental health or maintain a healthy weight can benefit from Exercise Physiology. Exercise Physiologists can provide support to those who have:

  • chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • chronic pain
  • disabilities that affect mobility
  • neurological and mental health conditions, such as depression, multiple sclerosis, dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • respiratory diseases, such as asthma
  • bone disorders, such as arthritis and osteoporosis
  • cancer

Exercise Physiologists can also provide support to those who would like to return to exercise safely after a long moment of immobility or sedentary living. This is especially helpful for those who have suffered an injury or who are recovering from surgery.

What does Exercise Physiology entail?

Working with an Exercise Physiologist will start with discussing your goals. Do you want to lift your mood? Improve your physical endurance? Lessen pain in your joints? All of the above?

The Exercise Physiologist will then conduct an assessment. The assessment will help the Exercise Physiologist decide which exercises would be the most effective and safe for you to do. They will also demonstrate these exercises for you. This will ensure that you will be able to keep doing the exercises for a long time, even when unsupervised, with a view to improve your overall fitness and quality of life.

What’s the difference between Physiotherapists and Exercise Physiologists?

While a Physiotherapist usually provides hands-on interventions, such as manually manipulating joints or massaging muscles, Exercise Physiologists empower you to effectively manage your own progression through a combination of supervised and self-managed exercises. You can also decide to work with both! This way, they can combine their expertise and you can maximise the benefits of your exercise programme.

Access Exercise Physiology support with the NDIS

Australians living with disability may be eligible to receive funding through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which funds Exercise Physiology and other supports.

As an NDIS registered allied health provider, Better Rehab can offer EP support to those funded through the NDIS. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you’d like an EP to meet and work with you so you can achieve your life goals through exercise.