Exercise Physiologist & Diabetes

Guest Post David Mapletoft, Diabetes Educator

So often we nit-pick at our meal plans thinking that what we eat is the problem with our blood glucose levels. In fact our meal plan may be perfect …. but …..  our blood glucose level may not be.

For people with type 2 diabetes, more energy spent on designing & participating in a safe & effective exercise program might be the answer.

Do you have an Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEP) on your team?

Accredited exercise physiologists (AEPs) hold a four-year university degree and are allied health professionals who specialise in the delivery of exercise for the prevention and management of chronic diseases and injuries.

AEPs provide support for clients with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, mental health problems, cancer, arthritis, pulmonary disease and more.

AEPs are eligible to register with Medicare Australia, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and WorkCover and are recognised by most private health insurers.

AEPs work in:

  • private clinics
  • hospitals
  • occupational rehabilitation companies
  • employment agencies
  • gymnasiums
  • GP super clinics
  • research institutes.

You might see an AEP to help you:

  • create a safe and effective diabetes self care exercise plan to enhance your diabetes self management
  • If you have pre-diabetes – create a safe and effective exercise plan to reduce your risk, or delay, the start of type 2 diabetes
  • overcome persisting pain caused by injury or overuse
  • improve your heart health
  • rehabilitate following a cardiac event
  • improve your recovery following cancer treatment
  • improve your general health and wellbeing.

AEPs also provide training in safe manual handling; perform functional assessments; carry out sub-maximal and maximal fitness tests; perform body composition tests and musculoskeletal assessments; and provide lifestyle education to help people manage their health conditions.

In Australia, we have the unique situation where we’re working backwards.

We have the existing resources and infrastructure including the specialised workforce of Exercise Physiologists and the Medicare subsidies which enable Australians to access these services, but we need to significantly increase our activity levels as 70% of Australians are not active enough.

Accredited Exercise Physiologists are allied health professionals, providing exercise and lifestyle therapies for the prevention and management of chronic disease, injury and disability.

AEP vs. Personal Trainers

Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) are not Personal Trainers.

AEPs are allied-health professionals with Medicare Provider numbers and are trained members of the health and medical sector. Fitness professionals (e.g. personal trainers) are members of the sport and recreation sector.

Personal Trainer

  • The Personal Fitness Trainer Qualification (Certificate 4) may be completed in less than 6 weeks of training.
  • Qualified and insured to design and deliver fitness programs to persons of low risk only (i.e. “apparently healthy populations”).
Accredited Exercise Physiologist (AEP)

  • Allied Health Provider
  • 4 Year University Degree qualified and accredited with ESSA.
  • Specialise in graded exercise therapy and lifestyle interventions for persons at risk of developing, or with existing chronic and complex medical conditions and injuries (i.e. ‘specific populations’).

Questions to ask your AEP

  1. How much experience do you have in helping people living with diabetes create safe and effective diabetes self care exercise plans?
  2. What do you need from me to give me the safest advice?
  3.  Will you work with me and my other health care professionals e.g. diabetes educator , dietitian, doctors to enable everybody to understand the plan and to guide me safely with this plan? Can you write the plans and advice for me so that I can show my other health care professionals what we are doing?

Kind Regards,


Diabetes Educator