Charter to establish clinical exercise physiology as a recognised allied health profession in the UK: a call to action

Helen Jones, Keith P. George, Andrew Scott, John P. Buckley, Paula M. Watson, David L. Oxborough, Dick H. Thijssen, Lee E. F. Graves, Greg P. Whyte, Gordon McGregor, Louise H. Naylor, Michael Rosenberg, Christopher D. Askew, Daniel J. Green

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Abstract

The UK population is growing, ageing and becoming increasingly inactive and unfit. Personalised and targeted exercise interventions are beneficial for ageing and the management of chronic and complex conditions. Increasing the uptake of effective exercise and physical activity (PA) interventions is vital to support a healthier society and decrease healthcare costs. Current strategies for exercise and PA at a population level mostly involve self-directed exercise pathways, delivered largely via the fitness industry. Even for those who opt-in and manage to achieve the current recommendations regarding minimum PA, this generic ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach often fails to demonstrate meaningful physiological and health benefits. Personalised exercise prescription and appropriate exercise testing, monitoring and progression of interventions for individuals with chronic disease should be provided by appropriately trained and recognised exercise healthcare professionals, educated in the cognate disciplines of exercise science (eg, physiology, biomechanics, motor control, psychology). This workforce has operated for >20 years in the Australian public and private healthcare systems. Accredited exercise physiologists (AEPs) are recognised allied health professionals, with demonstrable health and economic benefits. AEPs have knowledge of the risks and benefits of distinct forms of exercise, skills in the personalised prescription and optimal delivery of exercise, and competencies to support sustained PA behavioural change, based on the established scientific evidence. In this charter, we propose a road map for the training, accreditation and promotion of a clinical exercise physiology profession in the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001158
Number of pages7
JournalBMJ Open Sport and Exercise Medicine
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sep 2021

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