Exercise physiologists guide patients in maintaining their fitness and improving wellness. They also help patients recover from diseases and injuries and deal with their disabilities. Exercise physiologists create fitness and exercise programs for patients suffering from chronic diseases. Their programs also help to improve the patients’ body composition, cardiovascular function and flexibility.
Exercise physiologist job description and duties
These types of physiologists are more than just personal trainers. They require a bachelor’s degree, special training, and even certification to get to their position and do it well.
Exercise physiologists have some key duties that they need to attend to when they go to work. They develop, implement, and change exercise programs, as needed. They conduct medical tests while being monitored by a physician to help improve the patients’ physical fitness. They also explain the program and the medical tests to the patients. Exercise physiologists interview the patients regarding their medical history and vital statistics. They monitor the patients’ heart activity on an electrocardiograph machine, while the patient is on a treadmill for a stress test. They measure the lung functioning and oxygen consumption of the patient, as well as their body fat, using skinfold calipers, hydrostatic scale, and tape measure, to evaluate their body composition.
It is part of an exercise physiologist’s work to test the patients’ glucose tolerance and cholesterol level through blood testing. These physiologists also schedule other necessary tests for the patients, such as chest X-ray, physical examination, and urinalysis. They record all these test data in the patient’s chart. Based on their tests, they write initial exercise prescriptions and follow-ups depending on the physician’s recommendation, while specifying whether it is track, treadmill or bike. They will then demonstrate how to use the equipment and how to perform the exercise routines properly. Exercise physiologists also lead group and individual aerobic exercises, as well as flexibility and strength exercises.
At work, they observe participants during an exercise routine to determine if there are signs of stress. They teach behavior modification classes, such as weight control, stress management, and similar topics. They buy materials and supplies. They also change the exercise equipment, as needed. These physiologists also supervise the staff members.
Where does an exercise physiologist work
Exercise physiologists often work in hospitals and other clinical settings, where patients who suffer from arthritis, heart disease, or emphysema. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, exercise physiologists are usually employed in hospitals, nursing care facilities, outpatient clinics, and residential care facilities. In their 2012 survey, about 53% of these physiologists worked in general medical and surgical hospitals, state, local and private; 21% worked in ambulatory health care services; 6% worked in specialty (except substance abuse and psychiatric) hospitals, state, local, and private; and 4% worked in nursing and residential care facilities.
Why should you become an exercise physiologist
Being an exercise physiologist has its rewards. They get daily satisfaction as they help the patients recover from injuries. Those who work with athletes also experience satisfaction from helping athletes improve their game and overcome their injuries. Job satisfaction also comes from helping patients improve their quality of life after suffering from chronic conditions and illnesses.
Another advantage to being an exercise physiologist is the flexibility of the job. They may work in a clinical setting, physician’s offices, hospitals, sports medicine clinics, physical therapy offices, and other health clinics. Other employment opportunities may also be found in the athletic training centers of college and professional sports programs and fitness centers. These physiologists may also find implement corporate wellness programs.