“I whole-heartedly believe exercise can provide positive benefits for most health conditions, and the research supports this.”
– Eleanor Nattrass, Clinical Exercise Physiologist
Nestled in the heart of Nugent Street in Grafton, The ExerScience Clinic is a gold standard, medically focused, exercise rehabilitation clinic backed by science and dedicated to taking those who have chronic illness or injury back toward wellness again.
Specialising in exercise rehabilitation for those with cardiovascular disease, cancer, pulmonary, metabolic, neurological and musculoskeletal conditions, as well as those pre- and post-surgery, the team at The ExerScience Clinic work to bring you back to independence and an active healthy lifestyle again.
Headed by clinical exercise physiologist, Eleanor Nattrass, the clinic bridges a gap between medical treatment and wellness.
“Research shows that exercise can improve recovery and outcomes. De-conditioning can be catastrophic for wellbeing,” says Eleanor. “The benefits of increasing fitness and muscle mass point to less chance of a recurrence of illness and overall mortality. Exercise also plays a major role in reducing depression, stress and anxiety levels.
“The notion of ‘exercise is medicine’ is being advocated more and more. Exercise has amazing therapeutic benefits without any negative side effects. For those of you who haven’t been faced with illness — stay active! Practise 20-30 minutes a day of something that makes you puff.”
Q&A with Clinical Exercise Physiologist: Eleanor Nattrass
What happens during a programme with The ExerScience Clinic?
We take a comprehensive medical history and discuss the client’s goals for the programme. For example, someone may have been through treatment for breast cancer and want to pick up their children or grandchildren again. Illness can make people lose confidence in their bodies. Most clients start off with an exercise stress test that helps determine their response to exercise and how their blood pressure, heart rate and/or blood sugars react. We also have a DEXA Scanner, which measures bone density, fat, and muscle mass. From there we are able to prescribe an individualised and safe exercise programme.
We do a check-in and checkout every visit by measuring blood pressure, heart rates, oxygen levels and/or blood sugar to ensure it’s safe to exercise and to check that none of these are outside the norm post-exercise.
How is The ExerScience Clinic different from a normal gym?
We have qualified clinical staff able to safely and effectively prescribe exercise for people with low-to-high-risk chronic health conditions. All exercise sessions have high levels of supervision and some of our state-of-the-art specialist equipment can help with orthopaedic limitations.
Because we are allied health professionals, we are able to keep a client’s GP and/or specialist informed of any progress or concerns that we may have regarding response to exercise treatment. Our report is a useful tool when it comes to patient review.
About halfway through a programme we work with Body Tech Gym to help our clients integrate back into a mainstream gym environment.
How long does a programme typically last?
For 6-12 weeks with 45-minute sessions three times a week including cardiovascular training and muscular strengthening. Research recommends this as a robust time frame to achieve positive results.
What are the benefits of this type of rehabilitation for clients?
The research is astounding for many conditions. For example, those who have experienced a heart attack and have completed a 12-week cardiac rehab course, have a 30% reduction in their risk of hospital readmission and premature death. In addition to conventional treatment, those with non-metastatic colorectal or breast cancer diagnosis can improve their survival by up to 50% by participating in an exercise rehab programme.
Clinical Exercise Physiology (CEP) is a reasonably new area; in which countries is it practised?
CEP is making great strides in the US, Australia and Canada with populations able to seek assistance from the healthcare system or their insurance providers. In fact, in the US a heart disease patient would get an automatic referral to cardiac rehabilitation.
Is it beneficial for everyone?
Absolutely, our first client was a 19-year-old female recovering from a traumatic brain injury. However, the majority of the population experiencing major health conditions are over 60 and with an aging baby boomer population more and more kiwis would benefit from a service like this.
How much does treatment cost?
Approximately $1,250-3,400 per programme, depending on a variety of options. We’ve priced it on a level that equates with seeing a personal trainer and we have payment plans available. We are hoping to see funding or programmes being underwritten by forward thinking health insurers in the near future. The benefits to the healthcare system are huge such as reducing readmission to hospital and the risk of recurrence as well as reduced mortality rates.
Words: Jenna Moore
The ExerScience Clinic
8 Nugent St, Grafton