Q & A with Exercise Physiologist Jeffrey Richard
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Physical activity burns calories from the foods we eat and improves the body's ability to use insulin, and is an important tool for managing diabetes. Jeffrey Richard joined the Joslin Diabetes Center team as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist. He recently answered a few questions about the path that led him to Joslin, the roles of an Exercise Physiologist and his experience with patients.
How did you decide to become an exercise physiologist?
Exercise has always been a large part of my life, whether it was to improve my sport performance throughout life or just to maintain good health. I have always heard that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. Originally, I attended Springfield College in order to become a Strength and Conditioning Coach but once I gained some experience working in a cardiac rehabilitation setting as an Exercise Physiologist, I was hooked. There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes along with working in this field. Seeing first-hand the dramatic improvements individuals are able to make by incorporating some exercise and physical activity into their lives is what keeps me so dedicated to being the best that I can be.
What led you to Joslin?
Throughout my college career I heard about how great Joslin was. One of my classmates had performed an internship here and could not stop raving about the experience he had. After hearing about all of his great experiences as an Exercise Physiologist, I made it a goal for myself to end up in a place like that.
What exactly does an exercise physiologist do?
At Joslin, the Exercise Physiologists perform a number of tasks including fitness assessments, one-on-one exercise instruction and most importantly, education on how exercise and physical activity can benefit diabetes management.
What should patients expect from their first appointment with you?
The initial meeting with patients is all about assessment and education. Once we can get a good understanding of what is going on and the patient’s major goals, we can put together an individualized plan to better their diabetes management according to their goals. Everyone has their own reasons for scheduling an appointment, whether it is preventing low blood sugars with exercise, lowering some of their high blood sugars, weight management or even motivation to exercise.
Do you have one piece of advice that you give to all patients?
The one piece of advice that I give to all of my patients is that exercise should be viewed as a type of medication. It can lead to improvements in almost every part of their bodies.
What is the best part about your job?
The greatest part of my job is showing patients the improvements that they have made in their health with exercise. One of my top recommendations for patients is to log their physical activity in a notebook. This not only assists in their diabetes management, it also enables them to see their progress from week to week.
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