Exercise physiologists perform rehabilitation services for chronic illness, disability, or health related fitness. They are frequently employed in hospitals and physical therapy clinics. This profession is very people-oriented, as exercise physiologists are there for their patients during every step of their rehabilitation. They assess their patients' conditions, analyze their issues, and come up with an individualized treatment plan to help the patient improve their health. When physical activity is part of the rehabilitation plan, they instruct and monitor the use of exercise equipment by their patients. Additionally, they serve as a counselor and educator to the patient, helping them to meet their fitness and treatment plan goals. In this profession, employees may be required to work outside of normal business hours or on weekends. Some of the work is mental, such as designing exercise plans, but the work may also be physical when working with an exercising patient.
Some positions accept candidates with Bachelor's degrees in an exercise science-based field, but Master's degrees are often preferred. Upper level positions require additional work experience in the field. In the United States, some positions may require training and certification by the American Heart Association (mainly for advanced CPR), the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), or the American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP). They must also keep up-to-date CPR and first aid training to ensure the safety of their patients. Exercise physiologists must have an approachable personality to ensure the comfort of their patients, and they must also be strong communicators to make sure patients fully understands their fitness and recovery plans. Occasionally exercise physiologists may need to be flexible with accepting temporary duty assignments.
Exercise Physiologist Tasks
- Recommend, instruct and monitor use of exercise equipment by patient.
- Conduct assessment, analysis and treatment plan.
- Perform rehabilitation services for chronic illness, disability or health related fitness.
- Counsel and educate patient to meet fitness and treatment plan goals.