Being an Exercise Physiologist is very rewarding. I have the privilege to assist others on their journey to a healthier lifestyle. I work (and have worked with) many different types of individuals. I’ve helped average adults trying to incorporate more fitness into their life, individuals seek me out to create exercise prescription plans because I have the ability to tailor fitness routines to match their level of skill, and I’ve even had the honor of working with seniors who recognize adding an appropriate exercise plan to their daily routine will warrant a higher quality of life. I have to say the most rewarding people I have ever worked with are the children. I specialize in working with children diagnosed with ADHD, sensory integration deficits, autism, and even Asperger’s. Their desire to accomplish something, anything, is unmatched by any level of self-motivation I have encountered thus far. It’s such an awesome feeling to know I have the influence to empower these children to a higher confidence level and feeling of self-worth.
Exercise is not just about the body, it’s also about the mind. The brain is an extremely complex organism and has many different areas that control many different things. For example, as I type this article and think of every single letter that makes up all these words you’re reading, my brain has to know how to spell the word, where the key is located on the keypad, and also has to fire synapses to the spinal cord to tell my fingers where to reach; like I said, its an amazingly complex organism. Your brain crosses over from left to right, front to back, and top to bottom so incorporating exercises that will induce the proper brain function will create incredible opportunities for children. Aside from children with special needs, even children struggling in school have benefited from working with me. Higher focus levels in school, less help from parents with homework, and I’ve even helped a child cut his medication in half.
Exercise also serves as a release for a lot of these children. The older (by older I mean 13-16 year old) children I’ve worked with tend to open up to me about things bothering them after we create a working relationship and they know I am only there to help them. As one parent recently told me, “I haven’t seen this side of my child in 2 years.” The world is a crazy place these days and exercise tends to be an outlet where children can “sweat out their problems.” I like to create an atmosphere where children are bound by no proper laws (to a certain extent) and can just open up and be themselves. In turn, by creating this atmosphere, these children become more comfortable being themselves and this is where an increase in self-confidence always starts to shine through. By setting and reaching goals the children see they are capable of accomplishing whatever they set their mind to. Remember back to when you were growing up, there are a great deal of transitional phases these children are dealing with so it is very important to instill self-confidence in them.
Dr. Puskur, a child psychiatrist here in Ocala, has seen first hand how amazing the effects of exercise are on children as he has referred several children to me. The mind-body connection is an extremely powerful tool to utilize and I have a holistic approach to conquering many of the issues children are facing today.