If you are interested in health, sports, and fitness, you may be wondering what kind of education you will need. If you plan on becoming a personal trainer, group exercise instructor, wellness coach, or something in a related field, you can adequately prepare yourself for a career with as little as an associate’s degree. Examples of majors you might consider, depending on your specific career goals, are concentrations in health fitness, exercise science, kinesiology, physiology, or sports medicine.
If you go to a school that has a “health fitness” major, you will likely study topics such as kinesiology, physiology, exercise as a prescription, medical terminology, how to analyze fitness, and nutrition. You might also learn business and communication skills so that you will be successful working for a chain of health clubs. In addition to being a personal trainer, you could also graduate with the skills you need to become a wellness coordinator or other type of fitness specialist. Overall, you will learn the foundations for a future in exercise science, with a focus on how to customize fitness regimes and programs for a diverse range of clients. Sometimes this major also goes under the name “exercise science.”
Interestingly, many colleges offer both associate’s of arts and associate’s of science degrees in kinesiology. Arts-focused degrees often have an emphasis on teaching students how to improve a person’s overall well-being. As a graduate, you could become a coach, trainer, specialist, work in recreation, as a healthcare professional, or find a job in management in a health-related facility. Science degrees often have more of a focus on the athletic training part of kinesiology, and can sometimes be transferred to a four-year program in kinesiology or athletic training. The emphasis of classes is more specifically on kinesiology, exercise science, and athletic training. People often go on with an A.A.S. degree in kinesiology to work in the fitness and physical therapy industries.
In short, physiology is the study of exercise as medicine. As a physiology major you would study human performance and function, with the ultimate goal of going into sports medicine or physical therapist, or perhaps going into another medical track, such as chiropractic medicine. By studying “human performance,” you’ll cover topics that effect both world-class athletes, the injured, and the elderly. Classes will include the study of multiple sciences, as well as the opportunity to work in practical environments, such as in research labs or with an athletic department.
Sports Medicine and Fitness
If you choose to major in sports medicine and fitness, your studies will center on doing health and fitness assessments, as well as learning how to prescribe activity modifications to better a person’s lifestyle. You will learn a basic understanding of health risk factors, how to prevent injuries, and physiological adaptations to different exercises. You will also learn about different therapies and forms of care, as they relate to exercise and sports. You might also have classes in related subjects, such as nutrition, first aid, sports psychology, and administration and law.