Exercise Physiology

70% of adult Australians are not physically active enough 1

“Regular physical activity, at the correct intensity, is so powerful in maintaining and improving health that it should be prescribed, just as medicine would be.” Robert Sallis, M.D., EIM US President.

Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for death worldwide. Approximately 3.2 million people die each year due to physical inactivity. 5

Low fitness is one of the most powerful predictors of health outcomes. 2, 3

Merely meeting physical activity guidelines is linked to a 36% reduction in mortality for sedentary people. 4

  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2013.  Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011_2012. ABS Cat. No. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra:ABS.
  2. Burns S, Murray A. 2014. Creating health through physical activity. Br J Sports Med; 48: 167-169
  3. Steven Blair 2009
  4. Zhao G, Li C, Ford E, et al. 2014. Leisure-time aerobic physical activity, muscle-strengthening activity and mortality risks among US adults: the NHANES linked mortality study.  Br J Sports Med; 48: 244-249
  5. Australian Government Department of Health. 2014. Australia’s Physical Activity & Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Adults (18-64 years).

What is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist?

An Accredited Exercise Physiologist holds a 4 year University degree, and is an allied health professional, who specializes in prescribing individualized exercise programs for the prevention and management of chronic diseases and injuries. AEPs provide support for clients with:


  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Osteoporosis and arthritis
  • Mental health conditions
  • Chronic pain and fatigue
  • Asthma and chronic respiratory diseases
  • Cardiac conditions such as cardiovascular disease
  • Neuromuscular conditions (Parkinson’s, Cerebral Palsy etc.)
  • Difficulty maintaining motivation and adherence to lifestyle changes
  • Post-surgery rehabilitation (ACL reconstruction, hip/knee replacement)

The aim of an AEP is to develop clinical exercise programs to prevent or manage chronic disease or injury, and assist in restoring the optimal physical function, health or wellness of an individual.

You might see an AEP to:

  • Overcome persistent pain from injury or overuse
  • Rehabilitate following surgery
  • Improve your heart health
  • Rehabilitate following a cardiac event
  • Control your diabetes

  • Prevent Pre-diabetes progressing to full diabetes
  • Improve recovery following cancer treatment
  • Enhance functional abilities
  • Improve your general health and well-being

Typical Accredited Exercise Physiology Services Include:

  • Initial assessment to determine health status, and exercise / physical activity history
  • Explanation of how exercise will help to treat or improve your condition and improve your quality of life
  • Discussion of your exercise and health goals, and strategies to achieve these goals
  • Completing a physical assessment to determine your current physical abilities to enable a program to be designed
  • Development of an exercise program, clinical or home based, individual or group
  • Instruction on how to complete the exercise program, including discussion on the role of the exercise and how to achieve good technique
  • Written reports back to your doctor/practice nurse/ or specialist, detailing your exercise plan and progress
  • Ongoing assessment to track your progress and identify changes to your program that needs to occur

What is the difference between an AEP and a Personal Trainer

Accredited Exercise Physiologists are not personal trainers. AEPs are allied-health professionals with a Medicare provider number, and are trained members of the health sector. Personal trainers are members of the sport and recreation sector.

Personal Trainers:

  • Qualification (certificate 4) can be completed in less than 6 weeks of training
  • Qualified and insured to design and deliver fitness programs to clients at low risk only (i.e. “apparently healthy populations)


  • Allied health provider
  • 4 year university degree qualified and accredited with ESSA
  • Specialize in graded exercise therapy and lifestyle interventions for persons at risk of developing, or with existing chronic and complex medical conditions and injuries.