Exercise Physiologists support clients in their everyday life through exercise, lifestyle and behaviour modifications. Exercise is our form of medicine, and by expertly prescribing this to our clients, we are able to support clients to maintain a healthy lifestyle, combat sedentary behaviour and assist them with health-related complications that may stem from living with physical or intellectual disability.
At Novita, our Accredited Exercise Physiologists are trained to:
- Evaluate a person’s overall health, with special attention to cardiovascular, metabolic, and musculoskeletal health
- Develop an individualised exercise program to increase physical fitness, strength, endurance, balance and flexibility
- Design customised exercise programs to meet the health care needs for people living with disability
- Support clients to complete their individualised program or to access community-based gyms or sporting facilities.
The difference between Physiotherapy and Exercise Physiology
Exercise Physiology is sometimes confused with Physiotherapy, and although both can prescribe exercise as a form of treatment, there are some key differences. It is important to know that both Exercise Physiologists and Physiotherapists are recognised allied health professionals and can work closely together to support a person living with disability to reach their goals.
Physiotherapists typically focus on disability specific impairments, the diagnosis of injury, disability and pain, and the prescription of assistive technology. Exercise Physiologists focus on overall health and wellbeing. By taking into consideration lifestyle factors outside of the disability and utilising behavioural change and self-management concepts, Exercise Physiologists can support clients to increase their activity and decrease sedentary behaviours.
How can an Exercise Physiologist support you?
If you find it difficult to engage in physical activity, exercise or sport because of low fitness and strength, have poor balance and coordination, or are low in motivation to make a change, a Novita Exercise Physiologist can support you. We work closely with you, your family members, and others in your support team to provide individualised exercise-based programs to support the development of your health and wellbeing.
Support for kids and young people
For kids and young people living with disability, an Exercise Physiologist can create fun ways to exercise, move more and increase meaningful activities in social settings. They can also support your child to develop their movement skills and confidence so that they can achieve their physical goals – like learning to ride a bike or playing football with friends.
Exercise Physiologists can also support kids and young people living with disability to develop their strength and balance so they can keep up with their friends at school or their siblings at home. They can even develop your kid’s athletic/sporting performance so that they can meet targets for entry into Paralympic pathways.
To support kids and young people living with disability, an Exercise Physiologist can:
- Attend P.E. lessons at school to provide greater one-on-one support to develop sport specific skills or encourage movement in other ways if your child struggles to participate
- Create home programs and guided practise to develop physical skills, like riding a bike or kicking a football
- Support with specific and targeted strength and conditioning programs to assist with entry into elite or Paralympic level sport
- Prescribe exercise and behaviour modification to assist with weight management and prevention of childhood obesity.
Support for adults
For adults living with disability, an Exercise Physiologist can support the development of your general strength and fitness to maintain your independence in your own home, in supported living accommodation, or at work. Additionally, an Exercise Physiologist can support you to increase your strength and balance if you are unsteady on your feet or at high risk of falling.
Weight management can also be a difficult area in adulthood where an Exercise Physiologists can support you to increase your overall health and wellbeing and reduce sedentary behaviours.
To support adults living with disability, an Exercise Physiologist can:
- Work one-on-one or create a home exercise program to develop overall strength, fitness, balance, and flexibility to keep you functioning at your best well into older age
- Assist with confidence and safety while completing exercise, so that you can transition into your local gym, sport activity or fitness program, if you desire
- Support you to maintain your independence and continue important activities, like walking from the train to the football, getting around the football grounds safely, or riding your bike for exercise/as a means of transportation
- Provide exercise opportunities that you have always wanted to try but have never known where to start.
When should you see an Exercise Physiologist?
If you or a family member or someone you care for living with disability has any concerns or questions relating to the following an Exercise Physiologist can support you:
- Low motivation to exercise
- How you can start exercising safely
- Your current exercise routine
- How your current strength or fitness could be improved to participate in community activities and sports
- Learning new physical skills, such as how to ride a bike or how to kick a football
- Weight management (what to do if you are losing or gaining weight).
Examples of how an Exercise Physiologist may also be able to support you with specific therapy goals include:
- Learning how to play football when living with cerebral palsy
- Learning how to ride a bike when living with cystic fibrosis or an amputated lower limb
- How to remain independent while living with Parkinson’s disease
- Weight management/loss when living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or Down syndrome
- Going to a gym when living with ASD
- Strength and conditioning for people living with disability
- How to get stronger when your goal is to go to the Paralympics
- How to exercise safely while living with disability.
Even in the current environment where social distancing is important, Novita can provide you with one-on-one Exercise Physiology services in one of our hubs or in your home, and you can also access support via our very convenient telehealth service.
If you would like an Exercise Physiologist to support you with anything listed above, you can speak with someone in our friendly team on 1300 668 482 or visit our Contact Us page for more ways to get in touch.
Your first few appointments with an Exercise Physiologist at Novita are likely to involve:
- A thorough assessment of your health and physical function
- one-on-one exercise sessions to build your confidence to perform your exercise routine at home
- group-based exercise sessions to increase physical abilities in a social setting
- sporting, skill-based sessions to lead to participation in community-based social activities
- delivery of sessions across Novita sites, in your home, through telehealth, at school, at a gym, or various other community-based locations.
To create a tailored program to support you to achieve your therapy goals, a Novita Exercise Physiologist will use a range of interviewing techniques and assessments to understand:
- your current strength, fitness, balance, coordination, flexibility or sporting skills
- where you may have restricted ability to successfully participate in community-based activities, or achieve your therapy goals
- your current levels of motivation and readiness to change.
Even small changes in strength, fitness or skill can have a big impact on how well you or someone your care for can engage in physical activity.