Elly Wone – Journey into Exercise Physiology

Elly Wone is a Waribarra, Mamu, Jirrbal woman living in Cairns, Queensland. Elly was born in Innisfail and grew up just outside of Innisfail on her Waribarra clan area. There she spent a lot of time outdoors learning about the rainforest.

Elly attended the IAHA 2015 National Conference as a fitness instructor leading the Fusion program, which is a combination of Pilates, Tai Chi and Yoga. For Elly, it was a great opportunity to meet like-minded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People who worked in health and fitness. “I met a few people who had done allied health degrees and it was awesome, just to know that there was that support network while you’re studying and after you finish your degree.”

After attending the conference, Elly enrolled in a Bachelor of Exercise Physiology at James Cook University. “Doing the conference was really encouraging, because I had been really unsure about what kind of degree I wanted to do. After being at the conference I went back and finished my enrolment for university. I was really encouraged by seeing so many people and how much they enjoyed it, you could see that they were really happy to be at the conference. It is great knowing that I could do my degree and know that I’d have people there to support me as well. A lot of people at the conference said you know when you finish your degree, even during, you can come down and do some experience with us. Creating those networks was also great, and it helped me to know about places where I can go. I think that’s the most important thing is, where are you going to work.”

Elly’s experience working in the fitness industry has given her great practical knowledge to incorporate into her studies, and has been a stepping stone for pursuing an exercise physiology degree. “After I finished high school I completed a Certificate III and IV in Fitness to become a qualified personal trainer. I started my own business ElleVate fitness. I have worked mostly with exercise specialists and exercise physiologist and so I got to work a lot with chronic conditions, with older people aged over 50, which I really enjoy. I also volunteer at an elders’ village with a lot of Indigenous people. It’s really great to go there once a week and work with our elders and it’s great to see how much joy it brings them. It’s great to see as the weeks go by the better they get at doing the activities”.

Elly is excited to work as an exercise physiologist because of her strong passion to help others. “I love my job, I love working in fitness and health, for me it’s not really work because going to work for me is helping people and fitness is something that I’m really passionate about. I love helping other people learn how to use their body and understand fitness and get that quality of life.

After her degree Elly wants to continue to be working in health, primarily with the elderly, people with chronic disease and people with brain impairment or brain injury. “My friend was hit by a motorcycle in our last term of school which resulted in acquired brain injury. I’ve seen his journey and have gone with him to his physio sessions, so I’ve seen how much of a difference allied health can make. I think that I got a lot of inspiration to pursue a career in health from seeing his journey.”

For anyone who is considering a career in allied health, Elly says “Definitely do it. Any of the allied health professions is a great area to get involved in. The one piece of advice I would give would be to try and get some work experience as a student beforehand, because it is an industry where you need to be able to work and see how the body works with a variety of body types and different abilities and limitations. I think it’s good to get that experience behind you so that when you do finish your degree you’re confident.”