Unless you have been under a rock or a duvet for the past few years, you will know that including regular activity and exercise into your life is a pretty wise move if you want to be healthy and remain so.
When it comes to putting exercise intention into action, you want to make sure you get the right information and advice; advice that suits your lifestyle, health etc.
When you get sick or need medical advice, you generally head to your doctor knowing that they have been through checks of their qualifications, as they are not able to practise in NZ without registration. Unfortunately you cannot assume the same when you get advice on exercising as not all personal trainers and exercise professional are equal. In fact anyone can claim to be an expert in health and fitness, with or without any qualifications or experience.
A person who sets you up with good exercise advice and lifestyle plans can add years to your life, help prevent an array of lifestyle diseases, and contribute to both mental and physical health. In order to do these things, they should know what they are talking about.
So before you put your health and your body in the hands of someone, there are a few things you need to take into account to make sure you get the right advice from an expert.
Are they qualified?
A trained exercise professional will have completed a qualification in exercise and health related study. In order to give you the right exercise advice, your exercise professional needs to know how the human body works, and how to develop safe exercise advice to prevent injury. While what you look like on the outside may motivate you to exercise, your trainer or instructor needs to know what’s going on inside your body to get good results safely. An unqualified or untrained person claiming to be an exercise professional could well take the latest fitness fad and get you to follow it blindly. A professional who knows their stuff will be able to adapt any new technique and make it safe for you.
Is your trainer or instructor up to date?
Exercise is a science and developments are continuing, resulting in changes in the types of exercises we do and how we do them. If your trainer or instructor doesn’t stay up to date by reading widely, attending workshops and professional development courses to up skill their knowledge, then the exercises you are doing may be out of date, ineffective or just dangerous.
How do I get a good exercise professional?
It’s actually quite easy to choose a qualified and up to date trainer or instructor. While the bad news is that we don’t have compulsory registration in NZ, we do have REPs, the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals. Registration with REPs is the recognised standard to ensure safe and effective exercise advice. Exercise facilities can also register with REPs, undertaking to only use staff that are qualified, up to date, and who agree to a set of ethics in the work they do. So by choosing a REPs registered professional or facility you are making the right choice.
It’s great that most of the exercise industry (both facilities and exercise professionals) are registered with REPs, and almost all of the major exercise facilities and chains are registered with REPs. It’s easy to find out whether someone is registered. Just head to www.reps.org.nz.
Who recommends using REPs registered professionals?
You don’t have to take our word for it. There are some pretty large organisations that support using a REPs registered professional.
The Ministry of Health, in their new guide to using the gym recommend REPs registered facilities and trainers http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/food-and-physical-activity/physical-activity/activityguides/going-gym
The fringe benefit tax free Stress Management Exercise Association Endorsed Programme uses only REPs registered trainers and facilities. http://stressmanagementexercise.co.nz
NOTE: When Melanie, Managing Director of Ryding2Health became reps registered, she was the only REPS registered personal trainer in all of Southland. As it currently stands she is still only one of three REPS registered personal trainers in all of Southland.