If you’re looking to improve your physical fitness and overall health, you may be wondering whether you should see an exercise physiologist, physiotherapist, or personal trainer. Each of these health professionals can help you achieve your fitness goals, but they each have different areas of expertise. Here’s what to know when trying to decide where to seek help.
Seeking Help From Health Professionals
Exercise physiologists, physios, and personal trainers all have the same objective: to help clients achieve their health goals. However, each of these professions has a different set of skills, knowledge, and qualifications. The following outlines when to seek help from each of them.
When To See An Exercise Physiologist
An exercise physiologist is a health professional who specializes in exercise interventions. Accredited exercise physiologists typically have a degree in exercise physiology and work alongside physiotherapists to help prevent injuries, manage chronic conditions, or restore optimal physical function. Exercise physiologists may help implement a tailored exercise program, offer education and advice, or assist with lifestyle habits.
An exercise physiologist can help with:
- Musculoskeletal injuries and conditions
- Tailored exercise programs
- Lifestyle changes to promote health
- Rehabilitation pre- and post-surgery
- Workplace assessments
When To See A Physiotherapist
A physiotherapist is a health professional who specializes in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and management of various conditions and injuries. Physios have a degree in physiotherapy and work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, and community health. Some of the techniques physiotherapists use include exercise therapy, manual therapy, and rehabilitation.
A physiotherapist can help with:
- Musculoskeletal pain and injuries (such as sprains or back pain)
- Neurological conditions (such as stroke or Parkinson’s disease)
- Respiratory conditions (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Cardiac conditions (such as after a heart attack)
- Rehabilitation after orthopedic surgery (such as hip or knee replacement)
- Sport injuries
- Falls prevention in older adults
- Chronic pain management
- Women’s health (such as incontinence and pelvic pain)
- Clinical Pilates
When To See A Personal Trainer
A personal trainer is a fitness professional who specializes in helping people achieve their fitness goals. They are different from an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist as they typically have a certification in personal training. Personal trainers can develop a workout plan and provide guidance and motivation to achieve any fitness goals. They may also provide nutrition and lifestyle advice.
A personal trainer can help with:
- Fitness goals, such as muscle strength, physical fitness, or weight loss
- Flexibility and mobility
- Personalized exercise programs
- Guidance on form and technique
- Tips to prevent injury
- Accountability and motivation
Get The Right Help
It’s not always easy to know who to see for your health. For exercise interventions, it might be best to see an exercise physiologist. For injuries or other musculoskeletal conditions, a physiotherapist can help. For personal fitness guidance, a personal trainer may be the best choice. Ultimately, the right choice depends on your specific needs and goals. When in doubt, speak to your local doctor for further guidance and advice.
To learn more, consult a health professional before starting any type of exercise program or using new training equipment.