HOPE FOR CHANGE
by Michelle Krall, PT, MA
As we look ahead to the New Year, we are all hoping for change not only in the world but in the many aspects of our personal lives– self, career, family, leisure and fitness. Without good health, it impacts our ability to thrive in the workplace, attend to family obligations and most importantly, feel good about ourselves.
Besides proper nutrition, and a healthy outlook, appropriate exercise tops the list. One area that is ever changing is the face of fitness/wellness and the providers of this care. As we take notice of the increasing benefits of health and fitness we should become more aware of who our fitness providers are and which program is right for us. If you have pain or any type of musculoskeletal injury, the first person to see is your doctor who most likely would refer you to a physical therapist.
Physical therapists are experts in designing individualized exercise programs based on their knowledge of pathology and prognosis. They are experts at improving mobility, restoring function, and decreasing pain.
Personal trainers, aquatics, Yoga, and Pilates trainers all help with fitness when we are not injured but a physical therapist can help with injury prevention.
Here are a few things to be aware of when selecting your fitness/wellness provider:
- How qualified is your fitness trainer?
- Physical therapists possess an undergraduate degree, with an additional 2-3 years Masters or Doctorate post graduate and professional training. They are required to pass a variety of internships, national exam, and are licensed by the state in which they practice.
- Personal training credentialing organizations consist of the NSCA, ACSM, and ACE. More than 300 groups certify personal trainers and many of these programs are weekend courses. Certification from any of these organizations doesn’t guarantee trainer excellence but shows only that the person successfully passed the minimum requirements for certification.
- For Pilates, there is an exam for teacher certification given by the PMA– The Pilates Method Alliance which is working towards more standardization of teaching practices in the industry. Current requirements to sit for the Pilates teacher test are 450 documented hours of training in a PMA approved Pilates program or 720 hours of full time employment as a Pilates teacher (audited by the PMA).
- A yoga teacher should have a minimum of 200 hours of study and it should cover anatomy, kinesiology, physiology, safety modification and contraindications. In North and South America, Australia, Asia and most of Europe, yoga teachers are not required to be registered.
- There is no government backed regulator of yoga, Pilates or personal training and many of the trainings are weekend certificate /video courses that do not provide adequate training, and none of them require an undergraduate degree.
In summary, exercise is important but finding the right program and fitness trainer that will allow you to increase flexibility, strength and overall fitness without injury is just as important.
CCPT offers integrative rehabilitation for pain and all types of injuries, personal training, Feldenkrais®, Awareness Through Movement® classes, and Pilates based rehabilitation.
Do not be embarrassed to ask questions. It is important that your fitness/wellness trainer has a good knowledge of anatomy, physiology and kinesiology.
Things to consider when hiring a fitness provider:
- Ask for references.
- Ask through what organization they are certified or educational background.
- Ask if they are trained in CPR/first aid.
- Ask for years of experience in the field.
- Ask if they have a specific age group expertise.
A QUALIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER SHOULD:
- Ask if you have any medical conditions or injuries that they should be aware of.
- Pay attention to your posture/body mechanics during exercise and correct deviations.
- Be attentive If you complain of discomfort and be able to modify the exercise to accommodate your needs.