What the All Party Report means for Exercise Professionals

shutterstock_95075494The first stage of the All-Party Commission on Physical Activity report: ‘Tackling Physical Inactivity’, makes recommendation to address the harmful levels of inactivity in the UK.  The population’s sedentary lifestyles pose a serious threat to health, wellbeing and life expectancy posing a huge burden to public services. As exercise professionals we have a large part to play in raising activity levels for children and adults.

The study has found that only 51% of children reach the recommended levels of sixty minutes of daily exercise, which falls off dramatically by the time they reach adulthood. Only 22.5% of adults perform half an hour of exercise a week, as compared with the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity in bouts of 10 minutes or more. This highlights the need to encourage activity at every stage of life, particularly in young children to establish an active lifestyle habit that they can take with them to adulthood.

As REPs members, we are a critical part of addressing this problem at every stage of life by ensuring that all instruction is of the highest quality.  Sport experiences must be to motivate and inspire children to maintain the recommended levels of activity into adulthood. In delivering physical activity for children therefore, we have the responsibility to ensure that we arm children with the necessary physical literacy from a young age, helping to encourage participation in sport at a later stage of life. If properly instructed from a young age, we can have a pivotal role in giving them the foundations and skills for an active life.

In terms of instructing adults, we need to ensure that we are regularly updating our qualifications and experience to address the afflictions of much of the population; rising obesity and physical illiteracy require that we need to keep updating our skill set to cope with this unique set of challenges that many more clients present to us. Many obese adults with low levels of physical literacy have received medical referrals and have to be taught very basic skills.

As the report highlights, for the first time in history, the current generation of young people is expected to die five years younger than their parents. It has never been more important to engage today’s young people in physical activity and keep them engaged into adulthood.

To read the report in full please click here.

A call for responsible journalism

Newspaper

In recent times it has become the norm to open the paper and to find out that something is bad for our health, can give us cancer, or can help fight obesity, which for the average member of the public can become very confusing, and lead to a contradiction in determining which advice to take.

In the past couple of months there have been reports that “Seaweed could slow the obesity tidal wave”, “High Protien diets are just as bad as smoking” and “Want to lose weight? Play Tetris: Classic game distracts dieters from food cravings”, all of which have featured in broadsheets such as The Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, not just the tabloid newspapers.

With the case of high protein diets and smoking, we were quite shocked that the newspapers could even put the two in the same category as we all are fully aware of health implications smoking can cause. The NHS has decades of evidence proving that smoking kills and – fortunately for meat lovers – it would seem that this latest comparison with high protein diets is to be a triumph of PR spin. The story itself came to light in a recent press release about a large study which found that for people aged 50-65, eating a lot of protein was associated with an increased risk of dying. However, the study, which assessed the diets of Americans in a single 24-hour period (rather than long-term), found in those aged over 65 that a high protein diet was actually associated with a reduced risk of death from any cause or from cancer. These differing findings meant that overall there was no increase in risk of death, or from dying of cancer with a high protein diet.

As stated in the NHS’s Behind the Headlines “We need to eat protein, we do not need to smoke.” and here at REPs we certainly agree with this.

The NHS stated: “The reporting of the results of the study was reasonable. However, the prominence given to the story (which featured as a front page lead in The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian) in the UK media seems disproportionate. The headlines suggesting a high protein diet is “as harmful as smoking” was not a specific finding of the study and could be seen as unnecessary fear-mongering. This is particularly of note given that the effects of a high protein diet were found to differ dramatically by age.”

Here at REPs we understand the effects health articles in the media can have on our perceptions, which is why as Exercise Professionals we should perhaps being telling our clients to sometimes question what it is they are reading and to seek out professional advice when it comes to our health.

The NHS’s Behind the Headlines is a great place to start if you are wondering whether or not a health story has any truth in it, as they provide an unbiased and evidence-based analysis of health stories that have been in the news.

At REPs we would like to see a more balanced approach when comes to reporting of health news and perhaps headlines that aren’t so fear mongering. As always we would advise that it’s best to seek out health and fitness advice from the trained, qualified professionals rather than sensationalist headlines.

REPs UK welcomes new USREPS

 

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REPs is pleased to welcome the all-new U.S. Registry of Exercise Professionals (USREPS), which launched last month. The Register has been designed for those who seek to hire, work with, or are referred to a qualified, certified exercise professional. The public can easily search, find, and verify all of his or her credentials in real time.

The introduction of the USREPS registry is the first move by the Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals (CREP, pronounced C Rep). CREP is comprised of exercise certification organisations in the USA that have programmes which are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the recognised standard in the US for the assessment of professional competence.

The CREP organisation will maintain USREPS and advocate on behalf of exercise professionals that hold current, NCCA-accredited certifications and the stakeholders of the profession. Current member organisations of CREP include:

  • American Council on Exercise (ACE)
  • AmericanCollege of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
  • Cooper Institute (CI)
  • National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF)
  • National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA)
  • National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)
  • Pilates Method Alliance (PMA)

“This launch is a big step towards the inevitable inclusion of highly qualified exercise professionals into the healthcare continuum,” said Graham Melstrand, CREP Board of Directors President.

“Recognition of exercise professionals as health providers is a logical progression due to their unique expertise in the areas of disease prevention and wellness promotion. Until now, truly capable professionals have been inhibited by concerns regarding the qualifications of individuals representing themselves as exercise professionals, and the lack of an easily accessible mechanism to identify and verify professionals with current NCCA-accredited certification programs. That barrier is gone, which we expect will help exercise professionals gain the respect and recognition they deserve.”

Similar to us here at REPs UK, USREPs mission across the pond is to secure recognition of registered exercise professionals as health providers, in order to make structured physical activity accessible and safe for all.

What’s even better is that CREP is now a full member and part of the ICREPS family, which allows for more job opportunities available to REPs members, offering international recognition in America.

To find out more about USREPS please visit www.USREPS.org

Join us in Cardiff at the next REPs Convention

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CPD points are on offer at our next convention, taking place on Wednesday 12th February at the Spot Wales National Centre in Cardiff.

A major event for exercise professionals, a range of workshops will take place throughout the day, offering an excellent professional development opportunity.

Our key note speaker Matthew Wallden (Faculty Member, at CHEK Europe), will be delivering ‘Flatten your abs forever’, which will be an eye opener for all attending. The workshop will use the unique holistic and multidisciplinary approach that the CHEK (Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology) Institute is renowned for.

Matthew will explain all the reasons why your exercise programme may not be getting the results it should. You will also learn about the common problems preventing people from achieving flat abs including ineffective exercise programming, poor nutritional habits, hormonal imbalance, gynaecological, gastro-intestinal disorders and much more.

We are certain that you will leave this presentation with some new ideas to take back to your classes, PT sessions and exercise programmes!

There will be a choice of 12 interactive and informative workshops to keep you up to speed with all the latest industry news and developments.

Along with Matthew’s session and 11 other interactive informative workshops, the REPs Convention is also a chance to speak directly with some key people at REPs, including Compliance and Standards Manager Rob Wilkie. Delivering the ‘Welcome’, Rob will be available throughout the day to address any concerns or questions you may have.

The day-long event is £45 for REPs members (£60 for non-members) and this includes refreshments and a buffet lunch. Please note any bookings made after the 4th February are subject to an additional £5 ‘late booking’ charge.

FOLLOW THIS LINK FOR MORE INFO AND TO REGISTER NOW!

REPs welcomes Government’s commitment to dementia research

Dementia

As exercise professionals we most certainly welcome the Government announcing the funding research into dementia doubling.

The Government has already committed to spend £52 million in 2012 to 2013, and up to £66 million by 2015; the ambition is now to double public, commercial and charitable R&D in dementia in the UK by 2025, supporting leading scientists, universities and other institutions in seeking the next breakthrough.

Greg Small, Operations Manager for REPs, says, “While it’s obviously upsetting there are so many dementia and related conditions needing this funding, the investment is a welcome boost that can positively affect the lives of those people suffering from these conditions. Dementia issues already cost the NHS £5 billion each year – yet data shows that physical activity can drastically reduce the risk of major illnesses.”

A study [i] published this week in the journal PLOS One found that people who consistently followed four or five key behaviours experienced a 60% decline in dementia and cognitive decline, with exercise being the strongest mitigating factor. The other four behaviours were low bodyweight, a healthy diet, low alcohol intake, and not smoking.

Greg, who is also a REPs registered instructor, continued to say: “The increased funding should enable health clubs and leisure facilities to ensure people can get bespoke, professional training – enabling those people who need it the most to access appropriate fitness training from qualified professionals. REPs fitness professionals are fully qualified to provide the best possible encouragement and motivation, and ensuring correct exercise habits.”

According to the National Health Services, mental illness accounts for a third of all illnesses and, at any given time, one person in six experiences anxiety or depression. It is estimated that 25% of the UK population will experience at least one mental health condition at some point in their life.

Greg concludes, “Our aim as exercise professionals is to help everyone in the UK to get more active, and fitter. Through the combination of this additional funding, medical intervention and physical activities, we can all work together towards relieving families and society of the awful impact of dementia and its related conditions. If spent well, this investment will ensure patients and clients will receive the best possible treatment from those professionals qualified to do so.”


[i] Published in the PLOS One journal by researchers from Cardiff University, the study is the longest of its kind to probe the influence of environmental factors in chronic disease. http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/news/articles/healthy-habits-reduce-dementia-risk-12191.html

 Image Credit: http://www.nuffieldbioethics.org

No time to get fit?

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Do you ever feel like you could do with an extra hour in the day just to fit everything in? Finding time for ordinary tasks such as washing your hair can feel like a luxury for which you have to set aside time. People are living increasingly busy lives, any free time is considered sacred. With time so precious, putting a large chunk of it aside for exercise is an indulgence many feel they cannot afford.

The average Brit spends 43 hours in full-time work each week, without taking into account all the other duties required of them. Many industries are rethinking the way they provide their services due to the increased demands on time. An open-all-hours culture is already rife in the beauty industry, a trend set in cities that don’t sleep such as New York. On demand services are also popular, where people can get express treatments without having to book a long way in advance, every moment of spare time needs to be taken advantage of.

To exercise professionals, the benefits of making time for workouts is obvious, not least for the extra energy it can give for the day ahead. It is easy for exercise to be lingering at the bottom of the list of priorities in a hectic schedule; fitting in gym classes or personal training sessions is just not a realistic possibility for some. Short of becoming nocturnal, it is hard to fit it all in. Kim Kardashian might be a fan of 3am workouts, but realistically this is not feasible for making long-term changes. Incorporating exercise into the lives of busy people may seem like a daunting prospect, but it is imperative that exercise is an important focus. Showing how this can be achieved through changes to the daily routine, without sacrificing too much precious time. Being busy should not be an excuse for not staying fit!

Make it part of the commute

Commuting is a fact of life for most people, an ordeal to be endured every day. An office-based job encourages a sedentary lifestyle, so having an active commute can help counteract that. Brainwaves such as Home Run, a series of guided runs home from Central London, help achieve that. Following popular commuter routes such as Waterloo to Clapham Junction, covering distances between 2 and 6 miles, Home Run takes the tedium out of one of life’s necessities. They even carry your bag!

If running is not for you, or your commute still requires more traditional means, there are still plenty of ways to make it more active. Fitting in as much walking as possible is a step in the right direction; walking to the station, taking the steps rather than the escalator and getting off a stop early will get the daily miles clocking up. Apps such as Moves calculate all movement throughout the day, a great way to quantify how much you are actually doing, and a great incentive to keep on improving that figure.

Be organised

Being aware of any moments in the day that could be used for activity will allow for these times to be used most productively. Finding the perfect time to go for a run, but lacking the kit to do so is useless, forward planning will make the most of these opportunities. Keeping a gym kit in the car or office will allow for spontaneous activity, or make a priority of following through with a pre-planned activity without wasting time going home first.

Get Creative

No time to go to the gym, but still got twenty minutes to fit in some activity? Making the most of what is available to hand can provide a makeshift gym. Stairs can be run up, chairs used for triceps dips, press ups and sit ups can just require a flat surface. Gym equipment for the home is readily available, and comes in a variety of price ranges and sizes to suit every need. There are also a great selection of fitness DVDs and interactive games that are perfect for instructor-led exercise, but without the time constraints of committing to gym classes.

Multi-Task

Multi-tasking is an absolutely necessary skill to keep up with the frenetic pace of life, and is second nature to this overworked generation. This can extend into exercise, menial tasks such as cooking or cleaning can be turned into workouts with movement to increase the heart rate. Throw in some squats, a plank or some star jumps will make waiting around far more productive. A sacred night in front of the TV needn’t be sacrificed either, but introducing an exercise bike into the mix will ensure a good workout at the same time. Watching sport while doing this is one of the best incentives to carry on going; getting engrossed in the action will make it easy to forget you are even exercising.

Making these small changes a habit is a much more sustainable way of ensuring people are routinely active. The way people are living their lives and spending their time is changing, and this applies to the ways in which they exercise. Understanding that some traditional methods may not be as relevant it important, exercise professionals should be at the forefront of realising this and helping to ensure fitness remains a top priority.

Image credit: 7one8design.com

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