Defining Exercise Physiology

 Power lifting

Exercise Physiology:  What is it all about?

Leonardo Da Vinci said it best.

Those who are enamored of training without science are like a pilot who goes onto a ship without rudder or compass and never has any certainty to where he is going

Exercise Physiology is a hard science and falls under the umbrella of Kinesiology. It isn’t about throwing balls in a gym or teaching people how to play a sport.  It isn’t about telling people to go out and run everyday.  Exercise Physiology is a complex and intricate study that examines the physiological stresses imposed by exercise/activity.  It is a broad topic which includes many specialty areas such as nutrition, bioenergetics, body composition, strength and conditioning, power analysis, cardiovascular and pulmonary dynamics, environmental stress, endocrinology, and sport performance, to name a few.  Practitioners of Exercise Physiology strive to maximize human exercise performance for either gender of any age, under all environmental conditions.  Implementing sound scientific discover with practical application confirms Exercise Physiology as a true hard science.

At NMSU, students of Athletic Training, Kinesiology and Physical Education are provided with a broad Introduction to Exercise Physiology (SPM 308).  Topics include 1) bioenergetics, 2) energy expenditure, 3) skeletal muscle structure, function and exercise adaptation, 4) neural adaptation, 5) acute and chronic cardiovascular and pulmonary responses to exercise, and 6) body composition.  Kinesiology majors choosing the Exercise Science Track will continue to study advanced concepts (SPM 451-Advanced Exercise Physiology) in Exercise Physiology well beyond that of the introductory course.  In addition, students enrolling in the Principles of Strength and Conditioning (SPM 460) will continue to review Exercise Physiology as it applies to sport performance and additionally will be exposed to topics such as 1) overtraining, 2) ergogenic aids, 3) drug usage in sport 4) administration of tests, 5) applied strength training, and 6) periodization.

Kinesiology is a field that is growing at an exceptionally rapid rate and thus provides immense opportunities.  Occupations are virtually unlimited for those with motivation, ambition and an attraction to physiology and exercise.  Practitioners hold positions working as personal trainers, corporate wellness directors or coach/train individual or team sports.  Others pursue professional graduate education such as medical school, physician’s associate/assistant, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and cardiac/pulmonary rehabilitation preferring instead to work in a clinical environment.  In addition, some students acquire job opportunities working with medical and pharmaceutical sales representatives whereas many majors continue their education in a more traditional route (Master’s & Ph.D.s).

Essentially, occupational opportunities for a Kinesiology major are limited only by the student’s imagination.  Exercise Physiology within the area of Kinesiology is a basic and applied science, which requires considerable study, ambition, self-perseverance and discipline.  However, the field needs students who are dedicated and want to be successful.  Our program has grown well over a 1000% since 2003 and a great number of our students are practicing professionals today.  We are the premier program at NMSU for those seeking careers in the allied health profession.  So, if you think you have what it takes, come visit our department and let your journey begin.