The relationship between an NDIS participant and their exercise professional (usually an Accredited Exercise Physiologist) can be one of the most important connections in that participant’s life.
Here are eight things an NDIS participant should look for when choosing an exercise professional.
1) A positive role model.
Find someone who ‘walks the walk’. If the exercise professional prioritises their own health, these values will likely rub off on the participant.
2) Social interaction.
The benefits of exercise extend far beyond the physical. The number of social interactions the participant is exposed to is directly proportional to long term adherence to exercise. Does the exercise professional introduce the participant to other people in the environment? They should.
This applies to everyone, but even more so to NDIS participants. We all have our own unique needs. Everyone is different – so everyone’s exercise program should be different too.
4) No ‘pigeon holing’.
For NDIS participants who require higher levels of care, there is (unfortunately) a tendency for some exercise professionals to wrap their client in cotton wool too much. Of course, a high level of care is a necessity, but watering down the difficulty or complexity too much can delay progress.
5) The exercise is designed to improve life.
Exercise shouldn’t be done purely for the sake of exercise. Exercise should exist to improve quality of life. The exercises the exercise professional chooses should resemble activities the participant would be required to complete in their every day lives.
6) Friendship and humour.
Meaningful relationships lie at the heart of health. There should be a close bond between the exercise professional and the participant. Deep communication, friendly banter, ‘high fives’ and ‘fist bumps’ are some of the most important parts of this bond.
7) An interest in life.
The exercise professional should take an interest in the life of the participant. The relationship shouldn’t be confined to 30 minutes or an hour once a week. Maybe the participant always wears a Harry Potter t-shirt… talk about quidditch! Maybe they are learning ballroom dancing… they can teach the exercise professional to dance!
8) A mentor.
The trust between an exercise professional and an NDIS participant shouldn’t be wasted. This trust can be leveraged to help create far-reaching positive impacts in the life of the participant – through the sharing and modelling of core values.
Tick these boxes and you’re setting yourself up for a life-changing exercise experience.