The days of kicking the tires to assess a new car may be long gone, but we all still want the best vehicle, (and possibly some bells & whistles) on our new cars, and most of us do plenty of homework to make sure we get the best value we can. And, we continue to maintain our cars long after we’ve driven it off the lot. After all, we spend a lot of money on, and a considerable amount of our time in our vehicles. We want to be sure to get what we paid for!
How much is your health worth?
So now let’s consider our bodies. How much is your health worth? And, when you seek professional help, how do you make sure you are getting the service that’s right for your body’s needs? After all, we will spend our entire lives in one body and want it to perform as best it can in whatever environment (road) we travel—whether it’s racing grandchildren around the backyard, participating in community fun runs, or competing in advance-level sport. What type of homework should you be doing to make sure your investment in your own health pays off?
Let’s go back to the car for a moment, and consider some aspects of regular maintenance. License, registration, insurance, gas, oil change, tires, tune-ups and the inevitable emergency visits to the mechanic: all to be expected with car ownership. Your health is actually quite similar:
License = birth certificate
Registration = adult independence
Insurance = life insurance, health insurance, dental, etc.
Gas = food, water
Oil change & tune ups = periodic medical check-ups
Mechanic (brake pads, wheel alignment, tune up) = Health professionals: physician, dietitian, coach, personal trainer, exercise class
Daily commute, road trip, highway run = physical activity, exercise
Good nutrition is like putting premium gas in your car. Do you read labels, follow the Canada Food Guide or seek out professional assistance from a registered Dietitian? How you fuel your body is a combination of personal choice combined with education, advice and life experience.
Do you complete the recommended oil changes and service checks for your car? How about regular washes, waxes or even supreme detailing? Again, these can be compared to your body with respect to annual physicals, esthetic treatments, exercise and physical activity. A properly serviced vehicle will last longer and run better, and the same can be said for the human body. Keep moving, and, just like taking your car out on the highway to clean the engine, regular physical activity helps to maintain your body’s core systems-circulation, heart rate, and lungs.
Choosing a qualified service provider
So how do we know what the best services for our body are? Well, when our car needs help we visit a professional mechanic, and again the same can easily be said for our bodies. Many exercise professionals have completed several years of education, in addition to hundreds of hours of practical experience, and spent the time to secure accreditation to make sure they are using up to date methods in their practice. Just as there are engine specialists, brake specialists, in the universe of mechanics educated to perform appropriate tests for vehicle maintenance, there are different certifications and specializations among exercise professionals. Some accredited exercise professionals certified to perform the tests, assessments and consultations necessary to design an individual, customized exercise programs for your body. Others are certified to lead or instruct group exercise classes in the water, or on land with a variety of equipment. Others are trained to work with specific demographics, or are accredited to work alongside physicians, dietitians and nurses in clinical settings. There are a lot of choices out there!
These certified exercise pro’s have established themselves with a professional organization and adhere to a set of guidelines established to guide their professional practice. Mechanics fix cars, and dentists fix teeth and while no one is likely to go to a dentist for new brakes, the professional organization monitoring dentists works to ensure there are clear and concise limitations to their ‘scope of practice’. Certified exercise professionals are also governed by scopes of practice, guidelines dictated by their professional accreditation entity. And like dentists, their professional insurance coverage is tied to these guidelines and scopes of practice.
You can’t trade your body in
Your body is the most important asset you own. The level of investment you make in it is up to you, and your investment can easily gain value over time. Taking good care of your body, seeking professional guidance to tune it up, can pay off, and keep you cruising along the road of life for many years to come. Know that there are a lot of choices out there for you—from a nearby community running group, online coaching, a recreation facility drop in class, coaching for a specific sport or hiring a personal trainer. Take the time to ensure your exercise professional is qualified, and accredited in the area in which they are delivering services—whether it’s aquatic exercise, a cycle class or personal training consultation. It’s your body, after all, but unlike a car, you can’t trade it in.
So how do you find one of these qualified exercise professionals? Right here on the Fitdirectory! Every exercise professional listed on the registry is currently certified with an accreditation that meets provincial standards.