What is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP)?
An Accredited Exercise Physiologist is a university qualified allied health professional, who specialises in the delivery of exercise and lifestyle programs for healthy individuals and those with a broad range of chronic conditions. AEPs work as part of an inter-disciplinary team, to assist patients with chronic disease to achieve their health goals. Eligible patients can be referred by your practice to Fit Clinic, under a GP Management Plan and a Team Care Arrangement. Fit Clinic AEPs are eligible for Medicare, Work Cover, Veterans Affairs and Health Insurance rebates.
Some examples of what the AEP can do for the community
1. The overweight patient with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
After examining the patient’s medical history, medications, and conducting a musculoskeletal assessment, the AEP will develop an integrated exercise and nutrition program to assist the patient to reduce body fat levels, improve blood glucose control and reduce blood pressure. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg and significantly increase insulin sensitivity. An exercise program will be designed that takes into account any musculoskeletal or biomechanical concerns and the patient’s current fitness level.
2. Recent coronary infarction requiring the implantation of a stent. The patient requires an exercise program, but needs guidance, supervision and support?
The AEP will review the patient’s history and cardiologist’s report (including any results of relevant cardiac investigations such as an exercise stress test) to assess the patient’s current cardiac risk profile. The patient’s exercise tolerance and medications will be reviewed to develop a safe and effective exercise program so as to improve exercise capacity and quality of life.
3. A patient has chronic lower back pain, knee osteoarthritis after surgery, and an unstable shoulder? Can Fit Clinic assist in managing these conditions?
Yes. Following a definitive diagnosis of the back and shoulder pain, an AEP can design a specific exercise rehabilitation program that will strengthen and mobilise the musculoskeletal structures that support the joints, which may be contributing to the chronic pain cycle and reduce the re-occurrence of an injury.
4. A patient has recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis and requires advice on how to maintain or improve bone mass and reduce the risk of falls.
Strength training and impact exercise have been shown to be effective in increasing muscle strength and maintaining or even increasing bone density by up to 2%/year, which will assist in reducing the risk of a fracture during a fall. An AEP can design and supervise a specifically focused strength and balance training program, so as to reduce the possibility of a premature fracture during falls.
5. Your patient has recently been diagnosed with chronic depression. Can regular exercise be of any benefit?
Regular exercise is now well recognised to reduce the symptoms associated with depressive illness. However, as these benefits are associated with weight training, it is important that exercise sessions are supervised by an AEP. The AEP can also assist with motivation and compliance of the program for the patient, which is an important support mechanism especially for patients with a mental illness.
6. The patient is undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer. Can an AEP assist in providing an appropriate exercise program to improve the health and well-being of the patient?
Regular exercise not only reduces the risk of developing cancer, but has also been shown to be an important component in the rehabilitation process to maintain fitness and quality of life. The AEP will consider the type of cancer concerned, any resulting functional impairment and the type of treatment being undertaken. As chemotherapy may lead to fatigue, compromised immune function and nausea, the AEP will be able to design a progressive exercise program that takes into consideration these concerns and work with the medical team.
Accredited Exercise Physiologist
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