Empowering people to manage their wellbeing has many rewards, writes Josh Jennings.
Not all of exercise physiologist Lisa Broman's clients are motivated when they first arrive to see her, she says, but it's her job to try to change that by the time they leave.
"They might be thinking, 'Well, I'm here because my doctor sent me here'," she says. "A lot of our role is almost a counselling role where we work with them to provide them education to show what benefits they can get from exercise."
Broman is the founder of exercise physiology and pilates service provider Bodhi Movement. She says the overall aim of her role is to empower clients to self-manage their conditions, reduce their susceptibility to lifestyle diseases and improve their health and quality of life through exercise and behaviour change.
After initial assessments of her clients to determine how motivated they are to change, Broman says she will tailor exercise programs.
"It can be very challenging working with people with chronic disease but to see someone who has started to be empowered to look after their own health condition with the right knowledge ... is the absolute best-case scenario for what I do."
Broman has more than seven years' experience in the health industry. She completed a bachelor of exercise science and rehabilitation at the University of Wollongong in 2004 and has since worked in hospitals, community health settings, corporate health and private practice. She is an accredited exercise physiologist, which means she is endorsed by Exercise & Sports Science Australia - in line with its code of conduct - and recognised by Medicare and private insurers.
Broman says she enjoys the autonomy inherent in operating her own business. "I like that freedom of running a business according to what my standards and values are," she says. "Bodhi Movement is a little bit alternative and I can do that because it's my own business, so I'm not compromising somebody else's logo and label.
"Creating something from the core of what your principles are is a really big benefit of running your own business."
Exercise physiologists need to study a minimum of four years at university to become qualified. Some of the long-term health conditions they help prevent and manage include musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis, neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, and metabolic conditions, such as diabetes.
"Exercise physiology inspires me to continue to work with people to educate them and help them with behaviour change through specific exercise for them," says Broman, who is a member of the Victorian chapter of Exercise & Sports Science Australia, which she says is pivotal to supporting her profession and raising awareness that exercise physiologists are highly qualified and valuable when it comes to managing chronic disease.