EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY: BUILD A CAREER IN THE FITNESS WORLD
WHAT IS EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY?
Exercise physiology is the physiology of physical exercise. It is one of the allied health professions that involves the study of the acute responses and chronic adaptations to exercise.
Understanding the effect of exercise involves studying specific changes in muscular, cardiovascular, and neurohumoral systems that lead to changes in functional capacity and strength due to endurance training or strength training. The effect of training on the body has been defined as the reaction to the adaptive responses of the body arising from exercise or as "an elevation of metabolism produced by exercise".
Exercise physiologists study the effect of exercise on pathology, and the mechanisms by which exercise can reduce or reverse disease progression.
WHO ARE EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGISTS?
Exercise physiologists analyze their patients? fitness in order to help them improve their health or maintain good health. They help patients with heart disease and other chronic conditions, like diabetes or pulmonary (lung) disease, to regain their health. They also work with both amateur and professional athletes who are hoping to boost their performance.
Using stress tests and other evaluation tools, the exercise physiologist evaluates a patient?s cardiovascular function and metabolism and then designs a fitness plan that will meet the patient?s goals and/or needs, including building endurance and strength and increasing fitness and flexibility. A certified exercise physiologist is trained to:
- Administer exercise stress tests in healthy and unhealthy populations
- Evaluate a person?s overall health, with special attention to cardiovascular function and metabolism
- Develop individualized exercise prescriptions to increase physical fitness, strength, endurance, and flexibility
- Design customized exercise programs to meet health care needs and athletic performance goals
Sports medicine and athletic training facilities employ exercise physiologists to create programs that help athletes reduce the number of injuries and recover faster from them. Makers of athletic equipment hire exercise physiologists to design sports gear. Exercise physiologists also run their own businesses as sports or athletic performance consultants. You may also meet exercise physiologists who work as clinicians, sports directors, coaches or trainers, wellness directors, exercise managers, program coordinators, rehabilitation specialists or several other titles.
An exercise physiologist is not the same as a personal trainer. An exercise physiologist is a health care professional who has completed a degree in exercise physiology and/or has been certified by the American Society of Exercise Physiologists.
WHAT IS THE EDUCTATION REQUIREMENT FOR THE FIELD?
Accreditation programs exist with professional bodies in most developed countries, ensuring the quality and consistency of education.
An exercise physiologist's area of study may include but is not limited to biochemistry, bioenergetics, cardiopulmonary function, hematology, biomechanics, skeletal muscle physiology, neuroendocrine function, and central and peripheral nervous system function. Furthermore, exercise physiologists range from basic scientists, to clinical researchers, to clinicians, to sports trainers.
Colleges and universities offer exercise physiology as a program of study on various different levels, including undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs. The basis of Exercise Physiology as a major is to prepare students for a career in field of health sciences. A program that focuses on the scientific study of the physiological processes involved in physical or motor activity, including sensorimotor interactions, response mechanisms, and the effects of injury, disease, and disability. Includes instruction in muscular and skeletal anatomy; molecular and cellular basis of muscle contraction; fuel utilization; neurophysiology of motor mechanics; systemic physiological responses (respiration, blood flow, endocrine secretions, and others); fatigue and exhaustion; muscle and body training; physiology of specific exercises and activities; physiology of injury; and the effects of disabilities and disease.
Careers available with a degree in Exercise Physiology can include: non-clinical, client-based work; strength and conditioning specialists; cardiopulmonary treatment; and clinical-based research.
In order to gauge the multiple areas of study, students are taught processes in which to follow on a client-based level. Practical and lecture teachings are instructed in the classroom and in a laboratory setting. These include:
- Health and risk assessment: In order to safely work with a client on the job, you must first be able to know the benefits and risks associated with physical activity. Examples of this include knowing specific injuries the body can experience during exercise, how to properly screen a client before their training begins, and what factors to look for that may inhibit their performance.
- Exercise testing: Coordinating exercise tests in order to measure body compositions, cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength/endurance, and flexibility. Functional tests are also used in order to gain understanding on a more specific part of the body. Once the information is gathered about a client, exercise physiologists must also be able to interpret the test data and decide what health-related outcomes have been discovered.
- Exercise prescription: Forming training programs that best meet an individuals health and fitness goals. Must be able to take into account different types of exercises, the reasons/goal for a clients workout, and pre-screened assessments. Knowing how to prescribe exercises for special considerations and populations is also required. These may include age differences, pregnancy, joint diseases, obesity, pulmonary disease, etc.
WHAT IS THE CURRICULUM OF THE SUBJECT?The curriculum for exercise physiology includes biology, chemistry, and applied sciences. The purpose of the classes selected for this major is to have a proficient understanding of human anatomy, human physiology, and exercise physiology. Includes instruction in muscular and skeletal anatomy; molecular and cellular basis of muscle contraction; fuel utilization; neurophysiology of motor mechanics; systemic physiological responses (respiration, blood flow, endocrine secretions, and others); fatigue and exhaustion; muscle and body training; physiology of specific exercises and activities; physiology of injury; and the effects of disabilities and disease. Not only is a full class schedule needed to complete a degree in Exercise Physiology, but a minimum amount of practicum experience is required and internships are recommended.
TOP INSTITUTES IN INDIA TO STUDY EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY:
- INSTITUTE OF SPORT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, PUNE
- DELHI UNIVERSITY, DEPT. OF SPORTS SCIENCE
- UNIVERSITY OF MYSORE
- AMITY UNIVERSITY
- UNIVERSITY OF PUNJAB
- SCHOOL OF ALLIED HEALTH SCIENCE, MANIPAL UNIVERSITY