Exercise physiology is the study of the human body in motion or the physiology of physical exercise. As the enormous value of physical fitness continues to show up in study after study regarding human wellness, the importance of exercise has never been more apparent. Once the exclusive caretakers of elite athletes, more and more regular people are learning of the huge difference an exercise physiologist can make in their healthcare.
In the past, going to the doctor was a matter of “take two and call me in the morning,” and, as the old joke goes, if moving your elbow was painful, the advice was to stop moving your elbow. Many things have changed since those days, including the massive growth of “allied health professions” like exercise physiology.
What Are Allied Health Professions?
It’s probably easier to define what allied health professions aren’t because the term encompasses so many fields. Basically, anything that is not dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy are considered “allied health professions.”
Exercise physiology is only one type of allied health profession. Essentially, anything that does not fall into the five main categories of healthcare is considered part of this constellation of disciplines. This is a long list, including such fields as speech language pathology, nutrition, clinical psychology, lactation consultation, midwifery, music therapy, and art therapy.
How Does Exercise Physiology Relate to Fitness?
Physical fitness is all about how you move your body. An exercise physiologist learns how people exercise, from an Olympic athlete performing at the absolute pinnacle of human ability to a grandmother walking laps at the mall. An exercise physiologist can guide any level of athlete in the best ways to do the exercises of their choice, how to avoid injuries, how to get the most out of their exercises, and what to do if an injury occurs.
Is Exercise Physiology a Good Career?
One look at the data will tell you that the answer to this question is a resounding yes. Exercise physiologists are one of the best compensated of all allied health professions. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, demand for exercise physiologists is expected to increase by 11%, putting it in the category of “much faster than average” growth. One of the best decisions for a person interested in becoming an exercise physiologist is the decision to pursue a graduate degree.
How Long Does It Take To Become an Exercise Physiologist
Although every student is different and may find that exercise physiology programs have different requirements, West Liberty University’s exercise physiology program is 38 hours and takes around two years to complete. The program includes tracks for students interested in clinical practice and those who would rather focus on other areas, such as a personal trainer or fitness coach.