Much support has been given within the medical community and systems to the influence of diet on health, and as a result professions such as dietetics are well recognised, with community and hospital based roles available. The same cannot be said regarding physical activity and exercise, there are no comparable professionals within healthcare systems. Physiotherapists use exercise and movement as a therapy to rehabilitate patients with specific injuries or postoperative requirements to return them to ‘normal’ function but this does not address the more general need for the majority of the population to become more physically active, or facilitate the delivery of personalised exercise programmes appropriate for those with, or at high risk of developing, non-communicable diseases as a result of their physical inactivity and lifestyle.
The fitness sector in Europe has an important role to play and is well positioned to fulfil this requirement, working alongside healthcare professionals and in partnership with health services. In order to prepare to meet this need it is important that a resource of exercise professionals is trained to effectively equip them to deliver exercise to this particular population groups. These standards aim to begin this process and provide an opportunity for Personal Trainers to develop their skillset in order to work with individuals at risk and/or patients with chronic medical conditions that will benefit from structured exercise programmes.
It is important to note that as we begin to complete standards for our identified occupations on our sector qualification framework, these are moving upwards – and this is a deliberate policy of providing route ways for career development by our exercise professionals.
The EQF level 5 Exercise for Health Specialist standards are particularly important in this regard as they begin to form a real connection with Higher Education because these can be delivered within the Bologna Short Cycle as well as through vocational training.
- Dr. Christoffer Andersen, Fit&Sund, Denmark
- Dr. Antonino Bianco, University of Palermo, Italy
- Ben Gittus, SkillsActive, UK
- Dr. Andrea Ermolao, University of Padova, Italy
- Steven Mann, FIA Research Institute, UK
- Prof. Rita Santos Rocha, PhD, ESDRM, Portugal
- Dr. John Searle, Former FIA Chief Medical Officer, UK
- Stephen Wilson, FIA, UK (TEG Secretary)