A good place to start might be why I chose to become an exercise physiologist. Its hard to pinpoint exactly the moment that I decided to become an EP but there are some influential people in my life which helped me find my place in this profession.
First would be my Dad, Greg. When I was growing up I remember being dragged all over the place watching Dad complete in marathons, triathlons, kayak events, water-skiing and motorbike enduro events just to name a few. Sport and exercise was a normal part of life for our family. I started training in the gym at 14 years old to be more confident within myself (I was a bit overweight) and to be better at Rugby.
Towards the end of high school, my best mate went to a UNSW open day and told me about a coarse called exercise physiology. So when faced with a decision of what to do with the rest of your life I could have donned the suit and tie and went to work with Dad in insurance, or go to uni with your best mate. I did the later and never looked back.
Ten years have passed since I graduated from UNSW with a Ba in Exercise Physiology (with distinction) and I wanted to share some reflections and observations from this time in practice.
1. Community is the most important determinant of health
The people who have the highest level of health (in every respect) are those who are connected with community. Community is the foundation of healthy lifestyle behaviours because of the way it gives purpose, culture and values to live by. Without the grounding effect of community it can be hard to be balanced with respect to all the factors that contribute to whole health.
2. Start exercise young
I have worked with the entire age spectrum and I am constantly astonished by how well people age when performing exercise from a young age. Exercise during formative years pay dividends, decades later. I have seen 60 year olds far more physically capable that 30 years olds all because exercise is a constant in their lifestyle. I have also observed that you can't play catch up and regain those lost years of activity when starting exercise later in life. This is not to say that it's pointless, far from it, but maintaining a good foundation is far easier than building a good foundation later in life.
3. The best exercise is.....
Over the years, I have seen many exercise trends come and go. I'm not going to name them all! I have found the best one is... the one that gets done. They all work. Do what you like to do. If you get bored, then try something different. Just keep moving in whatever way that maintains your interest.
4. You don't need a gym to be fit
The notion of frequenting a gym to be fit and healthy is just not true. Fitness is not something that must occur within a specified space. It's a self expression of you interacting with your environment.
After 10 years, I am most grateful to be able to share my passion for health and exercise everyday and see the changes in the clients we serve.