People who have an active lifestyle and are looking to turn it into more wonder, what is exercise science? Exercise science is the study of how the body responds and adapts to the demands exercise places on it. Here, we’ll break this broad definition down, helping you know exactly:

  • What is exercise science, and how does it compare to similar fields of study?
  • Why should one consider studying exercise science?
  • What will you learn, and what can you do with an exercise science degree?
  • How to find the right exercise science program to learn more.

What Is Exercise Science?

As previously defined, exercise science looks at what happens to the body when elements of fitness are applied. However, this isn’t as simple as knowing how many repetitions to do. Instead, the study of exercise science includes knowledge of the body on a microscopic level. This includes learning human anatomy, kinesiology, exercise physiology, biology, biomechanics, and nutrition.

It’s common to have confusion around the differences between exercise science, exercise physiology, and kinesiology. These topics are closely related. The area of study most fitness enthusiasts are interested in is exercise science. Specifically, the study and practice of exercise science is to provide services and promote individual health, fitness, and wellness through the applications of exercise and movement.

Kinesiology, on the other hand, is a broader term that looks at mechanics, human anatomy, movement, and how collectively those three things function together for human performance. Lastly, exercise physiology analyzes the underlying mechanisms of the body’s response to exercise and how things change on a cellular level. In practice, it’s about improving and maintaining underlying physiological health.

Why Study Exercise Science?

If you’re still confused about whether you want to study exercise science or exercise physiology, the good news is you’ll learn about both in either type of degree program. However, you might also ask yourself why you’re considering studying exercise science. If it’s because you want to become an expert in fitness, promote health, or work with athletes, then exercise science is the choice. If you’re more interested in the molecular changes of the body in response to exercise, learn more about exercise physiology.


In an exercise science program, here is a short list of some things you’ll likely learn about:

  • Kinesiology
  • Biomechanics
  • History of sport
  • Personal fitness training
  • Exercise psychology
  • Exercise physiology
  • Motor learning
  • Sports science
  • Health promotion
  • Corporate wellness


Of course, each degree program will vary. It will also vary based on what type of exercise science degree you obtain. An exercise science graduate can get an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or a master’s degree in exercise science. This is ideal, because if you aren’t sure how much time and money you want to invest in a science degree, you can start small. For example, before pursuing a bachelor’s degree, you can start with an associate’s degree. Even with this type of degree, you’ll be able to start making money in related exercise science jobs. Then, as you learn more, you can decide if you want to advance your education in the health and fitness science space or if you’ve landed on your dream job.

What Can You Do With A Degree In Exercise Science?

The next question you need answered is what can you do with an exercise science degree. For most people, the first two roles that come to mind are a personal trainer and a fitness instructor. However, there are more career paths you can carve for yourself when you have a background in the science of fitness. Some of these jobs require additional education, licensure, or certification. However, these additional steps aren’t time intensive or costly. In fact, your exercise science degree teaches you the vast majority of what you need to know. Here, we’ll do a breakdown of the jobs you can get once you are an exercise science graduate.


  • Physical education teacher
  • Personal trainer or fitness trainer
  • Fitness instructor
  • Athletic trainer
  • Physical therapy technician or physical therapy assistant
  • Sports coach
  • Massage therapist
  • Wellness director
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Occupational therapy technician or occupational therapy assistant
  • Exercise physiologist
  • Assistant professor in an exercise science program
  • Health coach
  • Wellness coach

Of these, the most common exercise science careers that an exercise science major picks include:

  • Personal trainer
  • Strength and conditioning coach
  • Athletic director
  • Sports coach
  • Nutritionist

You can learn more about these jobs, salaries, and more in this article about exercise science careers. People often choose these roles because they have the ideal intersection of salary opportunity, job satisfaction and fulfillment, work-life balance, and ease of finding a job. For most, these ingredients make a dream job recipe. For more information on all the exercise science jobs we listed here, visit the Bureau Of Labor Statistics. And to learn more about how to get exercise science jobs, check out this read.

How To Find The Exercise Science Program Right For You

At this point, you’re realizing the possibilities an exercise science degree can bring you. The next step is to find an exercise science program that is the best fit for you. You should consider time investment, history and reputation in the field of sports science, convenience, and applicability.

All of Lionel University degree programs are online. This makes it convenient because you can learn from home, and on your own schedule. Additionally, you can choose from an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree. Remember, starting with a short-term degree will help you get your foot in the door right away. 

Even with the convenience and variety of degree programs at Lionel, there’s more that sets this education organization apart. The first is each of these programs include certifications you’ll get along the way. So you can start making money as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, health coach, or nutritionist right away. Other degree programs don’t have this offering, so you’d have to go external and pay more to get the certifications. Lionel makes it easy for you to start making money doing what you love. Secondarily, the Lionel reputation in the history and relevance of sports science is elite. Lionel was founded by medical and sport science experts. They worked with a range of individuals, including Olympic athletes. Further, their world renowned clinic served the basis to launch one of the first personal training certifications available. You can read more about the history of Lionel here.

If you’re like most, you’re realizing an exercise science degree has endless opportunities in a field that aims to improve the quality of lives of others. Find out more about how you can be part of the elite Lionel alumni today.