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What is the Adult Pre Exercise Screening System?

It is the fitness trainer’s responsibility and industry best practice to conduct a valid and comprehensive screening process.
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© CQUniversity 2021

As a fitness professional, you have an obligation to complete a pre-exercise screening using a tool such as the Adult Pre-Exercise Screening System.

In Australia, three national fitness organisations have formulated a standardised approach to the adult pre-exercise screening system to ensure an evidence-based system for identifying and managing health risks for exercise. Similar assessment designs exist in most countries and can be found using a simple internet search, however we believe the Australian approach to be a gold standard globally.

The three stages of APSS assessment

The APSS divides assessment into three stages, which makes the decision to refer or not much more straightforward.

It is the fitness trainer’s responsibility and industry best practice to conduct a valid and comprehensive screening and risk stratification process. This screening process should reveal relevant background information, known diseases, any known signs and symptoms of disease and family history of disease and health problems.

When an industry recognised pre-exercise health screen is conducted correctly, it will help determine whether exercise and physical activity intervention are safe for any particular individual and help build respect from AHPs.

A simple, free screening tool for use is provided by Fitness Australia. Download a copy of the Adult Pre-screening Tool if you haven’t already done so.

As a result of screening, clients can be categorised as high, moderate or low-risk in the following ways:

High Risk: One or more signs/symptoms of or diagnosed cardiovascular, pulmonary or metabolic disease.

A thorough medical examination should take place and clearance given before commencing physical activity or exercise at any intensity level.

Moderate Risk: Do not have signs/symptoms of or diagnosed cardiovascular, pulmonary or metabolic disease but has two or more cardiovascular disease risk factors.

May safely engage in low-to-moderate-intensity physical activities without the necessity for medical examination and clearance.

NOTE for vigorous intensity a medical certificate/clearance may be advisable.

Low Risk: No known or signs/symptoms of a cardiovascular, pulmonary or metabolic disease and no more than one cardiovascular disease risk factor.

Physical activity/exercise programme may be pursued safely without the necessity for medical examination or clearance.

© CQUniversity 2021
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