Is an Exercise Physiologist the same as a Personal Trainer?
Definitely not. Exercise Physiology provides 'specialised clinical exercise interventions' for a broad range of health issues. So, what does that mean? Well, to help unpack this question and the incredible work that Exercise Physiologists can do, we caught up with Peter Fauvette, Director at Meta Health Care, who is himself a passionate, dedicated Exercise Physiologist.
So what does an Exercise Physiologist at Meta Healthcare do?
An Exercise Physiologist has been trained extensively to evaluate the complexities of different chronic conditions and disabilities and to provide individuals with long-term, effective and safe exercise options that will help them improve their function and health.
They provide expertly designed exercise interventions that specifically target and assist clients with their disability and health goals.
They aim to help you manage your disability, chronic disease or injury so that you can restore your physical function and improve your day to day life. PS: At Meta Healthcare they use games and have outrageous fun as a foundation for exercise physiology!
Exercise Physiologists will also provide health modification counselling (advice on how to change the way you do things) with a strong focus on achieving behavioural change. PS: but they are not counsellors or behaviour practitioners.
How is Exercise Physiology different from Physiotherapy or Occupational Therapy?
Exercise Physiologists have extensive knowledge, skills and experience in clinical exercise delivery. They look at the big picture - not just the disability or injusry.
Physiotherapists are a great starting point to get people/s to the stage where they can benefit from active therapies. In short, a Physiotherapist will get you walking, and an Exercise Physiologist will get you running!
Occupational Therapists assist people/s by providing therapies and assistive technology that enable people to safely complete activities of daily living and mobilise around the home or community. E.g. Motorised Wheelchairs and Home Modifications.
Exercise Physiology and the NDIS
When would you need an Exercsie Physiologist to help you achieve your NDIS goals?
Any NDIS participant seeking greater independence, capacity to participate in their community or improved health and disability outcomes would benefit greatly from an Exercise Physiologist.
What goals can Exercsie Physiologist help NDIS participants achieve?
- Improve community participation
- Health behavioural change
- Meeting physical requirements for employment
- Improve mobility
- Increase independence
- Weight and muscle management
What kind of NDIS funding do I need?
Exercise Physiology, just like other types of therapies and can be billed under Capacity Building -> Daily Living.
This means you need to have funding in the Improved Daily Living Category - the same category where you will find funding for other therapies like Physio and OT.
You can CHOOSE what kind of therapy you can use this funding on.
Can Exercise Physiologist perform Functional Capacity Assessments? If not, what kinds of assessments can you do?
Yes! Exercise Physiologists are actually great at functional assessments as they utilise the principles of exercise to break down the task requirements and functional capacity needed to perform a specific task.
Meta Healthcare can provide free Initial Assessments to help you get funding for an Exercise Physiologist
How long does it take to see results, and how long do I see a clinician for?
From the first session, you will learn to apply better movement strategies. As we work with you and create your personalised tailored for you exercise program you’ll begin to feel improvements in your abilities and overall condition.
Where do Exercise Physiology sessions take place?
Exercise Physiologists usually work at gyms, parks, and/or in the comforts of your home and we usually bring the equipment necessary to treat the person/s.
Exercise Physiotherapy sessions can also be delivered via teletherapy - depending on the safety constraints of the person/s disability (e.g. falls risk).
(Name masked for identity purposes) John is a 22-year-old male with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy who dreamed of playing footy since he was 7 years old.
John was always told by numerous therapists that it was not possible for him to get the strength he would need to run or walk without assistance. John first began seeing an Exercise Physiologist in 2016 (age 16), he was unable to walk without the use of walking aids or get in and out of chairs by himself.
John also lacked confidence about his ability to improve which reduced his motivation in life. Through vigorous exercise plans and sessions designed by his Exercise Physiologist, John was not only able to begin walking on his own, but running, which proved to be an important step toward his dream of playing footy.
By 2020, John was able to gain the strength and agility required to participate in community football. Then in 2021, John achieved his dream of playing NRL in the Disability Rugby League championship!
About the Author
Peter Fauvette is owner and exercise physiologist at Meta Healthcare who offer mobile Exercise Physiology services and Functional Capacity Assessments