What is a PAR-Q?
The Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire is designed to determine an individual’s safety when starting a new exercise plan. Most people can start a exercise plan without worry; however, some people may require a preliminary health check to ensure that they are taking on the right level of activity for their medical condition.
Personal trainers often use the PAR-Q to identify any reasons why their client shouldn’t start a course of physical exercise. A PAR-Q highlights any medical conditions or physical inabilities that a client may need to speak to their GP about and that the trainer may need to take into consideration during training. From a liability point of view, the PAR-Q reduces the risk of client injury, illness and even accident.
What does a PAR-Q include?
A PAR-Q will typically include questions such as:
- Do you have chest pain when performing physical activity?
- Are you pregnant or have you given birth in the last 6 months?
- Do you have a bone or joint problem that causes you pain when exercising?
- Have you had recent surgery?
- Do you have any other limitations that must be addressed when developing an exercise plan (i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, back problems etc.)?
If a client answers yes to any of these questions, they may be an unsuitable candidate for your training. The client should seek medical clearance from their GP before continuing with your exercise programme, or seek advice about their limitations for exercise.
Why do clients need to complete a PAR-Q?
It is advised that each personal trainer or business should produce their ow PAR-Q relating to the type of activity they provide, as well as a set of guidelines stating what action should be take is a client gives a ‘negative’ response to the PAR-Q. This might include advising the client to speak to their GP or adapting the exercise plan to incorporate the client’s specific requirements. In extreme cases, you may have to deny a client your services to prevent client injury or incident.
If you failed to ask your clients to complete a PAR-Q and they suffer an injury due to a previous condition or troublesome body part, problems could ensue. You could be blamed for asking a client to undertake an activity that they were not physically able to do so. This may be seen as negligence on your part.
Where can I get a form?
We have provided a basic template which can be used as a guide for your own PAR-Q. Be sure to adapt this basic template to reflect your specific business activities and create a separate set of guidelines to manage any ‘negative’ responses to the form.
View our example Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire.
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