I have a saying…”Movement IS Medicine!”
But movement is not always intuitive.
Yes, we are built to move but “Moving Well” is not always the outcome of more movement.
Every year, Exercise & Sports Science Australia promote an “Exercise Right” public awareness campaign to promote both “The Benefits of Exercise” and Accredited Exercise Physiologists as the go to professionals for exercise prescription and delivery.
Research suggests that exercise should be the cornerstone of both preventative and therapeutic health interventions.
What If Everything You’d Been Told About Exercise Was Wrong?
The only problem I have with the promotion of where exercise physiologists fit into the overall allied health professional landscape is that accredited exercise physiologists (and personal trainers for that matter) are not clinically trained to assess and diagnose painful musculoskeletal conditions.
They are trained in “clinical exercise delivery” and “health modification counselling”.
The significant difference being that physiotherapists are trained to provide a diagnosis or “best clinical guess” based on all the available biopsychosocial evidence and a thorough musculoskeletal assessment.
Furthermore, physiotherapists especially those with a specific focus (i.e. shoulder physiotherapy) and years of clinical experience in that one area are potentially going to provide you a superior level of “exercise specificity” and “program modification” to suit your needs and specific condition treatment goals.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not bagging exercise physiologists or their profession.
I’m just going into bat for my profession because I have seen too many patients that have wrecked their shoulders in the gym through poor exercise prescription, instruction and execution.
I think we all have to pick up our game and more importantly work together.
As part of an allied health profession that provides the community with health education and therapeutic interventions (like exercise) I think that it’s important to promote our professional differences and specific skills like Exercise & Sports Science Australia are doing but also educate the community on when to seek out a particular profession.
Here are some examples:
- If you’ve got a shoulder pain problem then it would make sense, at least in my mind to seek out a shoulder physiotherapist.
- If you are 9 months post shoulder stabilisation and your physiotherapist deems you ready for a targeted strength training program, then seek out an accredited exercise physiologist and get your physiotherapist (hopefully us?) to liaise with them so that your program is the best it can be.
- If you are pain and injury free but have a specific health condition where exercise has been shown to be beneficial then by all means seek out an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and get their expert opinion on how best to promote your health and wellbeing.
My point is that there is some professional hierarchy and segmentation for a reason.
The problem nowadays, especially in the competitive health and fitness landscape is that the professional lines are blurring.
8 tips to make sure you’re “doing the right things to exercise right” for your health condition are:
- Get a diagnosis or at least a “best clinical guess” based on all the evidence
- Understand how “exercise” can help your specific condition or problem
- Identify all the contributing factors related to your problem that exercise could positively impact
- Understand that exercise in and of itself won’t always fix the problem – you have to be specific
- Movement is not intuitive so training basic movement patterns and spinal control are essential
- There is a “hierarchy of movement” so make sure – first things come first
- You cannot strengthen anything you cannot first activate
- Move Well then Move More
If the above list of tips, now have you more confused, then I have made my point.
Don’t wait until you’re completely broken – best to seek out a specific professional who knows your problem inside out and back the front and how “exercise” best fits your specific rehabilitation goals.