“Exploring the risks posed by the Medical Exercise Training (MET) myth and emphasizing the urgent need for the fitness industry to transition from personal training to a specialized medical exercise approach, aligning with evolving healthcare perspectives.”
There seems to be a misconception moving through the fitness industry that “simply exercise”, without an understanding of the detailed effects of exercise and its application, is not needed when developing an exercise program for a client with a medical condition. This misconception I’ve termed the “Medical Exercise Training Myth” or “MET–Myth”. The phrase emphasizes the urgent need for the fitness industry to transition from personal training to a specialized medical exercise approach, aligning with evolving healthcare perspectives.
The MET-Myth represents a prevalent misconception within the fitness industry, particularly among fitness professionals and personal trainers. This misconception revolves around the idea that providing exercise to a client with a medical condition is sufficient to improve their condition, often by selecting a set of specific exercises targeting muscle groups in the region impacted by the medical condition. The root of this misunderstanding lies in the lack of emphasis on understanding the clinical anatomy, critical pathology, or clinical physiology of the client's medical condition.
Over the past 30 years, I have encountered numerous inquiries akin to, "What exercise should I give to a client with a specific medical condition?" However, addressing medical conditions through exercise is not a simple task of merely selecting exercises, just as a physician prescribing pills for a prediabetic patient without incorporating lifestyle management, exercise, and nutritional guidance would be insufficient exercise management of medical conditions can have a very negative effect on the client’s functional outcome if done without the appropriate understanding of the client's condition.
The Medical Exercise Training (MET) myth perpetuates the notion that administering exercises alone, irrespective of the client's medical condition, will yield positive outcomes. This misconception poses a potential threat to medical exercise professionals and medical fitness professionals, particularly as the medical community increasingly acknowledges the role of exercise in the long-term management of medical conditions. The expectation from the medical community is that professionals in medical exercise and fitness comprehend the rationale behind specific exercises, including understanding the appropriate dosage, intensity, frequency, and duration for each application based on a detailed MET assessment.
Moreover, these professionals are anticipated to assess the functional deficits associated with the client's medical condition comprehensively. Following the assessment, they should develop an individualized exercise program aimed at minimizing deficits and enhancing the client's overall functional capacity. Equally crucial is the ability to document these interventions professionally and communicate them effectively to medical professionals and possibly insurance carriers.
A significant concern arises from the deep-seated nature of the MET-Myth within the fitness industry. Despite the medical community recognizing the value of exercise in chronic condition management and insurance carriers exploring reimbursement for medical exercise training, the fitness industry and its members seem to persist in the role of personal trainers rather than transitioning into the domain of medical exercise training. Addressing this misconception is imperative to ensure that the industry aligns with evolving healthcare perspectives and continues to contribute meaningfully to the well-being of individuals with chronic medical conditions. These are the key points of consideration with the MET-Myth:
Complexity of Medical Exercise:
Perpetuation of MET-Myth:
Expectations from the Medical Community:
Responsibilities of Medical Exercise Professionals:
Importance of Addressing the MET-Myth:
Despite the medical community acknowledging the significance of exercise in chronic condition management and insurance carriers considering reimbursement for medical exercise training, the fitness industry and its members continue to cling to the role of personal trainers rather than embracing the transition into the domain of medical exercise training. Addressing the MET-Myth is crucial to align the industry with evolving healthcare perspectives, ensuring that it plays a meaningful role in enhancing the well-being of individuals with medical conditions and establishes itself as a vital component of comprehensive healthcare.
If MET is to become a component of the healthcare continuum, a specific approach to client management must be utilized to address the needs of clients with medical conditions and effectively communicate with their healthcare providers. The recommended approach, which we have titled the Real MET Approach, provides a focused health perspective for managing medical conditions through exercise.
In summary, the "Real MET Approach" necessitates a holistic understanding of medical exercise sciences, specialized assessment skills, goal-oriented planning, effective documentation and communication, and a commitment to professional boundaries and collaboration within the healthcare context. This approach ensures a thorough and responsible application of medical exercise training principles in the service of client well-being. We will delve into the details of the "Real MET Approach" in our upcoming post.
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