Visitors to a special corner of AUT Millennium are using a powerful combination of medical and fitness expertise to help maximise their health in the face of serious medical conditions.
The team at the Human Potential Clinic work with clients to prevent, treat and manage serious illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and stroke. Exercise is a key focus of the holistic service, which facilitates long-term lifestyle changes and supports people in adopting health promoting habits.
Research shows physical activity is clearly linked to better outcomes for those with ill health, or classic precursors such as elevated blood pressure. Physically active cancer survivors, for example, have been found to experience 50% lower mortality than survivors who don’t regularly exercise.
Research also points to the value of individually tailored exercise programmes. Evidence shows that following a bespoke exercise plan, based on advanced fitness assessments, offers vastly better health benefits than the generic low-to-moderate intensity programmes typically prescribed to patients with health concerns.
Clients visiting the Human Potential Clinic undergo lab-based exercise assessments before having a safe exercise level identified, discussing their exercise preferences and obstacles, and receiving a bespoke fitness plan. They then work with expert staff on an ongoing basis to help stay on track towards achieving and maintaining their health goals.
By using a sophisticated suite of testing and equipment, and working closely with referring medical practitioners, the team gains a clear picture of each client’s health risks and is able to develop fitness programmes offering maximum health benefits. This assessment approach leapfrogs the rough gauges people often revert to without specialist help, such as Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference, as indicators of health risk and progress.
“These measures are a country mile off the insights we gain through specialised testing methods,” says Matt Wood – Exercise Physiologist and Manager of the Human Potential Clinic. “Cardiovascular fitness has profound predictive ability. We’re able to test this at safe levels – without pushing clients to their maximum limit – using respiratory gas analysis equipment,” he says.
With cardiovascular fitness – the single greatest modifiable risk factor in achieving longevity – the Human Potential Clinic hopes to make a significant difference to the lives of clients and their families.
The Clinic team currently works with clients on an individual basis, but is in the process of developing a new group service. Clients will benefit from individual assessment and consultation, with the addition of group exercise classes – a move that will allow Clinic staff to reach more people, without sacrificing the level of service they provide. The new group classes are expected to launch later this year.