Here, we’ll answer the questions around “what is exercise physiology?”. Broadly speaking, the study of exercise physiology includes how the body responds to the demands of physical activity. This includes immediate responses to exercise, such as heart rate and breathing rate changes, muscle mechanics, muscle fiber type recruitment, and energy sources the body uses to sustain movement. It also includes the long-term impacts of exercise on the human body. This can include metabolic and body composition changes, cardiovascular functioning improvements, changes in bone density and blood lipid profiles, and so much more. It is a subset of kinesiology, which is the very broad study of movement.

People who enjoy working out often consider an exercise physiology major as a means to become an exercise physiologist or other fitness expert. This article will example what’s included in the study of exercise physiology, what an exercise physiologist does, other careers you can get with this type of degree, and more.

What Does The Study Of Exercise Physiology Include?

When you consider how the body responds to physical activity, there’s a lot of information to include. And, it can be confusing to know the difference between a degree in exercise physiology, exercise science, kinesiology, and biomechanics. 

A degree in exercise physiology is very similar to a degree in exercise science. In fact, you might find these two degree programs have almost identical courses. However, you’ll find the following topics or courses to be similar regardless of which degree you choose. Common areas students will learn include:

  • Nutrition
  • Exercise psychology
  • Kinesiology
  • Biology
  • Applications of health science
  • Exercise testing and fitness assessments
  • Chronic conditions 
  • Exercise prescription and fitness program design
  • Exercise physiology (even if this is the name of the degree)
  • Exercise science (same as above)
  • Chemistry
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Fitness business

Likewise, degrees in kinesiology and biomechanics are very similar. Kinesiology is the broad study of human movement. On the other hand, biomechanics looks at the study of motion in living things. It’s common to have a stronger emphasis on physics, sports medicine, and human performance. 

As you can see, the differences between all of these areas of study vary only slightly. Therefore, if you’re looking for a career in fitness, most of these types of degree programs will offer students the same job opportunities.

Learn More About Why People Choose Lionel University To Study Exercise Physiology

What Does An Exercise Physiologist Do?

A degree in exercise physiology can get you a variety of different careers in fitness. Most specifically, it can get you a job as an exercise physiologist. An exercise physiologist works with individuals to improve their health data. Because the outcome is wellness improvement (rather than aesthetics or sports performance), they’re usually self-employed or working in a hospital or other public health facility. 

An exercise physiologist aims to improve the negative impact of chronic conditions, or to prevent their onset. For example, they’ll work with a patient who is trying to reverse cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. In other instances, they’ll work with clients who are recovering from cancer or some form of surgery. Therefore, the overall goal is to improve health and return to functional abilities through the use of physical activity. They do this through the following activities:

  • Exercise testing and comprehensive fitness assessments
  • Developing personalized exercise prescription plans
  • Monitoring the implementation of an exercise program
  • Modifying activity recommendations as the body responds and adapts to the program
  • Evaluating overall effectiveness and health improvements

When first starting out as an exercise physiologist, you’ll likely find yourself working in a clinical setting. This means at a hospital, doctor’s office, or rehabilitation clinic. From there, you might become a specialist with certain populations or outcomes and work in a corporate wellness setting or physical therapy clinic. As you continue to advance your skill set and grow your network, you can start your own clinical exercise physiology practice. This is where a medical professional will refer a patient to you specifically. And, you’ll get clients from more than one facility. So, it’s a way to make more money by increasing your revenue streams and also increasing your take home pay (rather than only receiving a portion of what the clinic pays you).

Unless you have a true passion for rehabilitation and applied exercise physiology, you’ll likely find yourself in some other fitness careers available. 

Other Careers In Exercise Physiology

The clinical side of exercise physiology can become mundane for some. Which is why others will choose an adjacent career. Some of these careers will require additional training and continuing education. However, plenty of others will not. Below is a list of other professions that an exercise physiology program can help you get:

  • Physical therapist or physical therapy assistant
  • Occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant
  • Personal trainer or fitness coach
  • Physical education teacher
  • Athletic trainer or athletic training assistant
  • Group fitness instructor
  • Wellness director
  • Health educator
  • Wellness coach
  • Sport medicine specialist

What To Do Next?

Helping others achieve a better quality of life is a rewarding career. This is regardless of whether you choose to become an exercise physiologist or enter one of the other careers. When you choose one of these jobs, you’ll get some (if not all) of these perks:

  • The ability to take your own fitness to the next level
  • Learn about something you love
  • Help others lose weight and make major life changes
  • Increase someone’s lifespan
  • Help athletes perform their best
  • Choose your own hours
  • Make six figures
  • Run your own business

As you can see, it’s pretty enticing to learn more about this type of study. Lionel University provides exercise science degree programs that can help you land a job as an exercise physiologist. You can earn an associates degree, bachelors degree, or master’s degree at Lionel. What’s even better is, included in your program, you’ll earn a personal training certification and other fitness certifications and specializations early on. This makes it easy for you to earn a living in the fitness space and test the waters. You’ll be able to figure out exactly what your long-term career goals are. 

Find out why other students pick Lionel and love it. You can get financial aid to make it an easier transition. And, the courses are all online. This means you can earn your degree from home, and on your own time. It’s the best way to learn when you get to choose. Furthermore, the reputation of Lionel is elite. The founders of Lionel are pioneers in the fitness space and have prestigious backgrounds. This means you’ll be learning from the best and most respected program available.

Check out our programs and contact Lionel today!

Get your health back and earn college credit while doing it.