Exercise Physi-what?

We hear it all the time. It’s not easy being in one of the smaller health professions, particularly when you get confused with a bunch of stuff you’re not. And I don’t blame people for the confusion. The health marketplace is crowded and us exercise physiologists are regularly confused with kinesiologists, physiotherapists and even psychologists. So what do we actually do? Glad you asked.

What if I told you there was a profession that understood the unique intricacies of cancer therapy, from hormone and chemo-therapy, from acute early stage treatments to survivorship or even palliative care and could help sufferers manage without more drugs? That’s what exercise physiologists do.

What if I told you there was a health professional who could do more than make people with mental illness feel better? That can rehabilitate PTSD, that carefully tailored non-drug approaches help change neurophysiology - improving memory, critical and creative thinking? That can help people with addiction disorders reduce the stranglehold of their substance addiction? The exercise physiologist can.

What if I told you there are practitioners who transform the lives of people with degenerative physical complaints like osteoarthritis without a scalpel or a bone saw? Or help people with crippling phantom limb pain, chronic fatigue, Lyme disease and a whole host of often invisible but devastating health conditions without dodgy-sounding scam-like propositions, based on evidence that proves more effectiveness than most medications? An exercise physiologist can.

What if I told you that the only thing that can help reverse the deterioration of heart and lung conditions wasn’t a drug? What if I told you that that profession could help Parkinson’s sufferers halt their disease in it’s tracks and even sometimes reverse it, all without more drugs or scary-sounding deep-brain stimulation? What if I said that there was a therapy for dementia sufferers that could help slow their decline, reduce the burden of care on their support people and help them have dignity? An exercise physiologist knows how.

Many people, from fitness to health will claim to use exercise to help people’s health, but only the exercise physiologist has spent years studying and researching to know how to best use exercise exclusively as medicine. Exercise is a tremendously powerful therapy, medical treatment and means of physical improvement but, and this is a BIG but, it doesn’t just work no matter what you do. And it won’t have the specific effects I’ve mention above if specifically crafted treatments aren’t designed with the right person in mind by the person who knows exactly what to do. That’s what an exercise physiologist does.