Exercise is for everyone this World Health Day

7 April 2021

April 7 of each year marks the celebration of World Health Day and each year brings to light important health issues with a global impact. With this year’s theme focusing on building a fairer, healthier world for everyone, Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is highlighting the statement that “exercise is for everyone”, and shouldn’t discriminate against age, gender, abilities, ethnicity, or geography.

“Exercise, or any form of physical activity, can be beneficial in a wide variety of ways. Whether you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, cancer or heart problems, have an injury, live with a disability, are wanting to prevent a health condition or look after your well-being, or are simply looking to age actively – keeping active will help,” says ESSA Chief Executive Officer, Anita Hobson-Powell.

Although the impact of COVID-19 was varied among different communities both within Australia and globally, exercise remains as important as ever to help keep our population healthy. Not only does exercise support our immune system, it can also boost our mental health and help to keep us connected.

As little as 60 minutes of physical activity per week could prevent up to 17% of incident cases of depression and something is always going to be better than nothing, with no one type of exercise shown to be better than another for improving your mental health.

“Although exercise is for everyone, not all Australians know how to exercise safely for their individual needs. This is where Accredited Exercise Physiologists, the experts of exercise prescription, play an important role in protecting the health and well-being of our population, especially during this pandemic,” explains Anita.

Accredited Exercise Physiologists are university-qualified allied health professionals that specialise in designing and delivering safe and effective exercise interventions for all populations – regardless of their medical conditions, injuries, or disabilities. They can help to break down barriers that may exist for those wanting to utilise exercise as medicine.

“When it comes to the prescription of exercise, they are the most qualified professionals in Australia.”

The key issue during COVID-19 has been the required long periods of isolation and restricted access to health care, however, the introduction of telehealth has allowed the safe delivery of Exercise Physiology services to continue, supporting the physical and mental health of Australians throughout the pandemic.

“Exercise was deemed essential by the government and the World Health Organisation when lockdown restrictions were put into place, and Exercise Physiology services were also placed in the essential health care category due to the important role exercise prescription plays in supporting the health care system,” adds Anita.

“Even despite the rapid changes within state and territories and their lockdowns, Accredited Exercise Physiologists throughout the country have been agile and responsive in developing processes to deliver telehealth services. Their commitment to their clients and the community remains unwavering.”

If you wish to access the services of an Accredited Exercise Physiologist either in-person or via telehealth, you can locate a provider who can support you via the ESSA online directory. It’s important to note that access to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist can also be rebated through Medicare if you have a referral from your GP.

“No one person should be disadvantaged from being active and gaining the benefits of exercise and physical activity, and ESSA accredited professionals can serve as a safe and qualified helping hand.”

All media enquiries can be directed to media@essa.org.au.