Thursday, February 12, 2009

More about exercise physiology (from our friend the Internet)

Exercise physiologists are physiologists specializing in exercise. They monitor and assess cardiovascular and metabolic effects as well as the mechanisms of exercise, replenishment of fluids during exercise, and exercise specifically as it pertains to cardiac and musculoskeletal rehabilitation and health.

An exercise physiologist may perform fitness evaluations and recommend exercise programs to maintain overall health. They can also choose to focus on specialties such as cardiology, sports medicine, respiratory therapy or physical therapy. Their duties may include the identification of risks in their patients or rehabilitation programs in conjunction with those of other healthcare professionals.

In an academic setting, exercise physiologists may teach courses pertaining to medicine, physiology, or any number of other health-related fields. Other settings that may employ exercise physiologists include community organization venues, health clubs, recreation centers, or commercial and industrial facilities. They may also be employed in clinical settings prescribing exercise for cardiac and pulmonary patients. There are also many potential opportunities for research on aging, rehabilitation of muscle injuries, and the health benefits of exercise in general, particularly since the emphasis on illness prevention and promoting good health through exercise continues to increase.

Education requirements for an exercise physiologist may vary depending on the employment setting. A master's degree in exercise physiology is usually the minimum requirement. To hold an exercise physiology position in organizations or commercial settings, an undergraduate degree in physical education, exercise or health sciences, and nutrition may be helpful. Additional training in physical therapy and kinesiology is valuable for employment in a health-related setting. For an academic career in research or teaching, a PhD is required. Certification requirements for exercise physiologists in most states are not yet well established, but for those not pursuing an academic career in this field, the certification is available through the American College of Sports Medicine for exercise test technologist, exercise specialist, or health and fitness director. ACSM's highest certification is currently program director; continuing education hours are required every four years for recertification.

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