As more people become aware of the benefits of exercise, nutrition and overall better health, an Exercise Science degree may put you on the path to work with not only athletes; but, with the rapidly aging Baby Boomer generation as well as elementary and secondary students or clients who require rehabilitation as a result of injury or illness, such as coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes or certain cancers.
Exercise Science is a multidimensional study of human movement that involves the academic study of movement and overall health. It's a degree which has several names, such as Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology, Health and Wellness or Nutrition. It's a discipline that includes studies, among others in, anatomy, physical conditioning, injury prevention, biomechanics, exercise physiology and diet and wellness. The College Board suggests Exercise Science additionally includes studies way beyond just sit-ups, weight lifting or sports; but, also focuses on general, overall health, improving nutritional habits and helping patients or clients lead healthier, longer lives. Students interested in health and wellness, fitness, nutrition and health, working with athletes or in physical fitness training, will find a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science a useful degree.
This area of study may also provide students with the academic opportunity to further their education to become nutritionists, rehabilitation specialists or athletic trainers.
Since the middle of the 20th century, it's been a popular course of study for those wanting to work in a variety of careers in sports nutrition, athletic training/coaching, wellness and fitness coordination, occupational therapy, kinesiology, etc. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that between 2014-2024, athletic trainers and exercise physiologists will experience a much faster than average 13% job growth rate as compared to other occupations.
There are a wide range of studies for this degree which may include studies in biology, biomechanics, fitness programming, chemistry, communications and basic physiology. An Exercise Science degree may concentrate on a specific discipline as outlined below:
Concentrates on improving overall health through the knowledge and application of physiological mechanics. In other words, exercise physiologists employ exercise techniques to improve physical performance, disease prevention and rehabilitation and athletic guidance and training.
Studies human and animal movement, performance and function. These studies may include courses in biology, psychology, health and nutrition, biomechanics and motor behavior.
Sometimes referred to as Sports Medicine, this discipline focuses on prevention of injury, diagnosis and treatment of muscular conditions.
Due to the hands-on nature of this field, students may not find many online undergraduate programs; but, several colleges and universities are offering distance learning graduate degrees in this discipline. Best Medical Degrees recently published a ranking of Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in Kinesiology and Exercise Science and Best Online Master's Degree Programs in Exercise Science, Wellness and Kinesiology. There are certifications offered with some of these specialties, which may be obtained through the American Society of Exercise Physiologists and American College of Sports Medicine.
The outlook is bright for this field and students will find rewarding job opportunities in physician offices, as self-employed trainers or specialists, hospitals, etc. Good luck!