Countless studies, an abundance of research, and plenty of anecdotal reports clearly demonstrate the importance of exercise. It benefits our physical and mental health in a multitude of ways. When combined with proper nutrition, regular exercise can control weight, increase lifespan, and improve mood. It also combats and reduces the risk of health conditions and diseases like stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, arthritis, and cancer.
Exercise Science and Its Benefits
More recently, research has examined the impact that regular exercise has on COVID-19. An article published by Harvard Health Publishing stated that those who were consistently inactive “had a significantly higher risk of hospitalization, ICU admission, and death after getting COVID-19 than those who were active for at least 150 minutes per week.”
Yet, despite the health benefits of exercise is widely accepted, many people aren’t getting enough physical activity each day. In the U.S., our physical activity levels and nutrition are far from perfect. The CDC has reported that nearly 90% of Americans exceed the recommended sodium intake, and only 23.2% of adults over 18 met the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity. According to one study, the nation takes 46th place on the list of most inactive nations in the world!
Fortunately, there is one field of study that is changing all that. Exercise science majors are actively helping people live healthier lives through exercise, rehabilitation, and nutrition. Those in the field teach individuals how to exercise safely, prevent injury, and become healthier. They can also create modified exercise programs to accommodate different abilities, injuries, and needs.
Though sometimes used interchangeably, exercise science isn’t kinesiology or exercise physiology. Instead, it is a broader degree that covers many similar topics in addition to nutrition. It applies the science of kinesiology and exercise physiology to help people live healthier lives. That said, some colleges with an exercise science major like the one at Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia, allow students to choose a concentration. For example, they may select pre-professional, pre-physical therapy, clinical, or strength and conditioning. Alternatively, they may decide to take a multidisciplinary approach, including kinesiology, communication, and business, to prepare them for a career in sports administration.
As mentioned previously, exercise science majors focus on rehabilitation and nutrition, in addition to exercise. For example, an individual with an exercise science major may work in a fitness facility or gym as a personal trainer. They will meet with clients and develop an exercise program that considers their current fitness level and their goals. If this client were overcoming a knee injury, for example, they would provide them with exercise modifications, stretches, and rehabilitative muscle-building strategies to help them gain greater mobility. If the client wanted to lose weight, the trainer would also develop a nutrition plan to help them do so.
Personal trainers are not just for the rich and famous. These are professionals who have committed to years of education and training on the topic. It is recommended that those who have an injury or an underlying health condition work with a personal trainer to help prevent future injuries or complications.
You can find these health and fitness experts working in a number of different settings.
For example, they may work in a college, university, or a professional sports league as a coach. Because of their extensive background in exercise, nutrition, and rehabilitation, they can help athletes prevent injury and overcome an injury faster if it does occur. Alternatively, they may work as a physical therapy assistant or rehabilitation technician focusing on exercise routines for those with an injury or experiencing mobility challenges.
Exercise science majors’ career options are versatile because of the extensive knowledge they possess. With the proper education, they gain hands-on experience with advanced tools and equipment that can be applied right out of school. Berry College’s well-known exercise science program prioritizes “substance” in the classroom. This means that students don’t simply learn by reading pages in a textbook. The program equips students with experience through practicums, internships, and collaborative research. Students also have access to state-of-the-art metabolic testing equipment to provide more tailored programs. In addition, students have the opportunity to receive four years of paid, mentored development experience right on campus or apply for credit internships at various facilities like strength training centers, occupational therapy clinics, and medical centers. This approach not only improves their skills but builds their resume at the same time.
The field of exercise science attracts individuals who are passionate about health and helping others.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 330,000 personal training jobs are forecasted for the U.S. by 2026. This is a 10% increase with jobs opening up in hospitals, resorts, recreation centers, and country clubs. In addition, job forecasts for sports physiologists, physical therapy assistants, rehabilitation techs, and athletic trainers are also rising, as more people look for help to feel their best.
The purpose is being prioritized over salary as more people are looking for work they can feel good about. If you are passionate about fitness, exercise, and nutrition, you should consider the exciting field of exercise science. Not only will you help people live healthier lives, but you will know your work is serving a purpose.
At The End
The World Health Organization has defined health as “a state of complete mental, social and physical well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” To achieve this state of well-being, we need to eat well and exercise regularly, and when we don’t know what to do or how to do it, we can thankfully turn to exercise science majors who will guide us in the right direction and help us live a healthier life!