An Exercise physiology degree is a study of how the body responds to physical activity in both short term and long term periods. It includes the study of anatomy, metabolism, neuromuscular function, elements of exercise biomechanics, and more. Exercise physiology helps professionals understand how our bodies work with the view of improving physical health.
A person who studies and practices exercise physiology is referred to an exercise physiologist. Exercise physiologists often get a responsibility of conditioning a client to an advanced level of fitness while being aware of safety issues associated with exercise such as the risk of injury, environmental exposure, illness, and so on.
Clinical vs. non-clinical exercise physiology
Exercise physiology can be loosely broken into two categories; clinical and non-clinical. Clinical exercise physiology mainly involves design, recommendation and supervision of exercise programs to patients suffering from chronic diseases such as lung disease, heart disease, cancer, and so on. Non-clinical exercise physiology, on the other hand, deals with healthy to moderately healthy adults wishing to lose weight, improve their athletic performance or better their general physical performance.
The role of an Exercise Physiologist
As earlier mentioned, an exercise physiologist is a broadly trained professional who can function in wellness, fitness, and clinical work settings. Some of the specific responsibilities of an exercise physiologist include;
• Carry out fitness tests to team members and athletes to build an accurate physiological profile.
• Designing tailored training programs
• Liaise with team leaders and coaches to maximize the effects of training
• Advise and educate coaches and athletes on areas such as hydration strategies, overtraining, recovery techniques, and acclimatization.
• Work in collaboration with other exercise and sports professionals such as physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches, dietitians, and sports psychologists.
• Raise awareness of fitness and health issues and promote the benefits of exercise and sports.
• Perform a variety of investigations such as exercise tolerance tests with the view of assessing patient risk.
• Where necessary, refer patients to other specialists
• Work directly with patients to help them make healthy positive changes in their lifestyle.
Exercise Physiology Degree or certification?
Exercise physiologists typically need a degree or Diploma in Exercise physiology, sports science, exercise science or any other closely-related subject. Relevant exercise and sport science degrees are based on biomechanics, psychology, and physiology, and need to have a broad knowledge in all the three areas.
Above the necessary qualifications, practitioners have an option of advancing their career by seeking certification. It is not mandatory to acquire certification, but it shows that the individual takes their trade seriously. Exercise physiology is certified by the American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
To earn the ASEP certification, you need a degree in physiology, exercise science or a related area. To receive a certification through ACSM, practitioners need a degree and at least 600 hours of clinical experience.
Well, that is pretty much all you need to know about a exercise physiology degree or certification, and it’s role in exercise and fitness. As the modern community embraces healthy eating and fitness, you are going to be hearing more about exercise science, exercise physiology, and such related terms more frequently. If you need to improve your athletic performance, recover from an injury or improve a chronic condition, consider seeking the services of an exercise physiologist to provide professional help.