Reasons why you may refer clients to other professionals

Factors that comprise the safety of exercise.

In some instances, clients need to delay exercise or be referred to a qualified health professional before participation.

Reasons for temporary deferral of exercise include:

– Illness, such as cold or flu. Sufferers are advised to delay exercise exercise until they are feeling better.

– Pregnancy, which can require GP clearance before exercise can commence. It is covered in PARmedX.

– Health changes; these should be reported and could require referral to a GP.

– Inappropriate clothing or footwear, e.g. no trainers for a gym session.

– Inebriation; gym equipment should not be used under the influence of alcohol.

GP consent and clearance for exercise are recommended in these cases:

PAR-Q response

If the client answers ‘Yes’ to one or more of the questions on the PAR-Q form; If they have any diagnosed metabolic, pulmonary or cardiovascular disease; or if they are experiencing signs or symptoms of a pulmonary or cardiovascular disease they are at a heightened risk of medical emergency.

Combined risk factors

Exercise can be dangerous for clients who have several risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD); they should check for these with their GP. CVD risk factors include inactivity, high blood pressure, smoking, age, obesity, stress, diabetes, high cholesterol and a family history of CVD (genetics).

Injuries that can be aggravated by exercise

Clients with minor injuries such as sprains and strains might need clearance from their GP, as these can be exacerbated by exercise.

Instructor doubt or uncertainty

If the instructor has any doubts about the clients health, they should advise them to check with their GP for clearance.

Client preference or doubt

If the client wants to have a medical check before starting an exercise programme, they should be encouraged to pursue it with their GP.


Clients aged over 69, who are unused to exercise, should be assessed by their GP. If a client is considered unfit for exercise they can be referred to an appropriate healthcare professional, e.g. a GP. They must then obtain medical clearance before they can start the programme. The client should be given an explanation for their referral and an opportunity for a follow-up after they have spoken to their GP. This can be via telephone or face to face appointment.

Fitness Instructors are not qualified to work with clients with medical conditions, or to rehabilitate them from injury; these fall beyond an instructor’s scope of practice. Clients with medical conditions need supervised exercise sessions with a level 3 exercise referral instructor or a level 4 specialist instructor.

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