Monday, January 14, 2008

Exercise What?

I get asked plenty of times in any given week what it is I am studying and going to do for my career, or profession, or what-you-will. I tell such inquirers that I am studying exercise science and after a brief pause the most common follow-up question goes something like this, "I was playing such-and-such sport and did this-and-that to my wrist, ankle, knee, etc., and was wondering what is wrong with it and what I should do for it?"

In truth, I couldn't tell someone what was ailing him or her if my life depended on it. I haven't been trained extensively, hardly at all for that matter, in injury assessment. With such an admission I'm often suddenly defensive, for the logic naturally follows that if I am not able to help a poor suffering soul figure out what's wrong with his or her wrist, ankle, knee, etc., and yet I persist in calling myself an exercise scientist then there must be some serious deficiency in my very person and I haven't yet justified my earthly existence.

The truth is exercise science is a very large field and I occupy only a small fraction of the space available. Whether or not I occupy that space well is an entirely different question. When the opportunity presents itself in the form of a disillusioned injured friend I generally take it to disabuse him or her by explaining that within the field of exercise science I am specifically studying exercise physiology, or that portion which concerns itself with the acute and chronic responses and adaptations to sports, exercise, and physical activity. In other words, I am interested in things such as heart rate response due to exercise, or glucose metabolism during distance running, or skeletal muscle motor unit recruitment patterns during a rigorous bout of weight lifting, etc.

More specifically, my interests in exercise physiology include a wide range of topics such as sports nutrition, endocrinology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and so forth, each illuminating my understanding a little more relative to the absolute marvel that is the human body.

As for my career plans my plan is to pursue a doctoral degree in exercise science thus taking care of at least the next three to five years. After that I could teach, research, consult, or train, or do a combination of any of those options.

1 comment:

Deb said...

So, I was playing racquetball the other day and all of a sudden my eyelashes started hurting. What should I do?
Just kidding! I love you, hope you have a great day!