Exercise Physiology Concentration

Obesity and sedentary lifestyles have been identified as "escalating national and global epidemics . . . These intricately linked conditions are responsible for an enormous burden of chronic disease, impaired physical function and quality of life, at least 300,00 premature deaths, and at least $90 billion in direct health care costs annually in the United States alone" (1). Additionally, the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Medical Association launched the Exercise is MedicineTM program in November 2007 to encourage physicians to record physical activity as a vital sign during patient visits, and to encourage patients to incorporate physical activity and exercise into their daily lives. Thus, there is an increasing need for well trained and qualified fitness professionals to work with the growing sedentary and obese populations in the United States, and to work together with physicians and other health care professionals to provide appropriate exercise prescriptions and programs for healthy children and adults, as well as patient populations. In addition for the need for professionals to work with the sedentary and obese populations, there is also increasing need for well- trained and qualified professionals to work with athletic-oriented populations toward the achievement of optimal human performance. Further, there is increased need to enhance the performance of diverse populations in varying environmental conditions.

The graduate concentration in exercise physiology will help prepare students to meet these societal challenges. This area of study provides an advanced theoretical and research background in exercise physiology, as well as hands-on experience gained through a required internship. The curriculum prepares students for a variety of careers, including corporate and community fitness specialists, clinical exercise specialists, coaching for performance enhancement, teaching, and research. Additionally, after completing the M.A. program, some students go on to take various certification exams (e.g., National Strength and Conditioning Association), and others continue in doctoral programs in exercise physiology.

(1) Manson, J. E., Skerrett, P. J., Greenland, P., & VanItallie, T. B. (2004). The escalating pandemics of obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Archives of Internal Medicine, 164, 249-258.

Professional Application of the Program:

Graduates of the MA program in Kinesiology (exercise physiology option) currently work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Secondary schools (strength & conditioning coaches)
  • Colleges and universities (teachers, strength & conditioning coaches)
  • Hospital-based cardiopulmonary wellness programs (exercise physiologists)
  • Corporate fitness programs (personal trainers, program managers, group exercise leaders)
  • Community health and fitness facilities (personal trainers, program managers, group exercise leaders)
  • Research