Exercise physiologist and smoking cessation advisor, Kent

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“If you are interested in sport and fitness and don't want to just work in a gym, this is one of the few jobs where you can really use those skills in a solid career with good pay and great prospects.”

What do you do?

I have two jobs. Three days a week I travel around the community working with cardiac patients - most of whom have recently had a heart attack - to show them exercises and give them information on how improve the quality of their life, and their lifespan. The rest of the week, and some evenings, I am a "stop smoking" advisor.

What is your typical day?

As an exercise physiologist I get some cardiac cases referred to me from local GPs, but we actually get most of our patients by going directly to the hospitals in our area and finding the patients ourselves. We walk around the wards (and these patients could be in any of several sorts of wards) and make contact with the people who have heart problems. Most have had a heart attack, some are recovering from various forms of heart surgery (like new heart valves, or 'stent' artery supports). We give them encouragement and advice, often simply how to get home safely, and then invite them to come to a class in four weeks time.

The classes are held in community or medical centres all over our region, and are led by three people: myself - as an exercise specialist, a rehabilitation nurse (who looks after the clinical needs of the patients) and a physiotherapy assistant (who checks and helps with patient mobility). I lead the warm-ups and cool-downs and demonstrate all the exercises and procedures that can radically improve the health of a heart patient.

I also run several 'stop smoking' courses. Groups of up to 30 people come along for one hour lessons over seven weeks. We give loads of practical advice on giving up; lots of tips on dealing with cravings; plus descriptions (and even prescriptions) for all the stop-smoking products, chewing gums and nicotine patches you can buy. In week three all our participants stop smoking on the same evening. It's a fun night! I'm pretty proud to say we have a 60%-70% success rate: the best for any sort of stop-smoking help programme, and the cheapest.