OPINION

Tailored exercise programs are just what the doctor ordered

When you think about treatment for conditions such as diabetes, depression and anxiety, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, what comes to mind? Medication? A hospital stay? Surgery?

Although exercise is a critical part of treating these common, and very serious, diseases, most people don't exercise as much as they should.

So why is exercise daunting, and how do we identify the best exercise for us?

Exercise does not mean having to break out the 1980s-style aerobic leotard or the tight and revealing muscle tops. It might not even require attending your local gym.

It's true that any exercise is good exercise, but not all exercise is the same.

Walking, running, cycling, swimming and weight training all have different effects, which might change depending on what time of day you exercise.

You might need to exercise differently based on your medications and other health treatments. And that might change if your medication changes.

As you can see, for exercise to be effective, it takes planning.

This is where facilities and support become increasingly important.

Your GP is obviously an important person when it comes to managing your health - and while they support people to become active and healthy, they are not in the best position to prescribe a tailored exercise program.

This is where an exercise physiologist - accredited with Exercise and Sports Science Australia - comes in.

Accredited exercise physiologists are allied health professionals who specialise in prescribing exercise to manage health conditions and improve the physical function of individuals.

Every prescription is individualised based on patient assessments, research findings, experience, and patient preferences.

Accredited exercise physiologists are specially trained to consider the individual's health and medical interventions, and personal abilities, before designing and implementing an appropriate plan.

In some regional communities, facilities and support is limited, or even non-existent.

That's why it's vital that we keep training exercise physiologists to work in regional areas.

At the La Trobe Rural Health School in Bendigo, we provide a four-year pathway.

A large clinical practice component is embedded in the program.

If you are passionate about exercise and helping people, this profession could be for you.

Because exercise physiologists are a vital component of a strong rural health care team, able to manage a range of health conditions.

Associate Professor Brett Gordon is Discipline Lead in Exercise Science and Physiology at La Trobe University.

This story Tailored exercise programs are just what the doctor ordered first appeared on The Canberra Times.