Exercise Science may seem like a simple course only geared towards physical wellness and fitness, but it’s more than meets the eye. It encompasses various subjects such as anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, and nutrition. With these concepts in mind, many are left to wonder – is Exercise Science a STEM major?
In today’s world, STEM majors (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) have increasingly become popular due to their high demand in the job market and lucrative salaries. Many students are now considering pursuing programs under this umbrella. Fortunately for them, there are numerous majors categorized under STEM, including Exercise Science.
If you’re wondering what benefits come with this, you’re in the right place! In this article, we’ll discuss everything about Exercise Science as a STEM major- from its definition and scope to career prospects and opportunities.
“Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been.” – Albert Einstein
To better understand the relationship between Exercise Science and STEM, we’ll take a closer look at how this field is part of the Science branch, particularly Biology. Furthermore, we’ll explore some of the industries related to this major and highlight why they all fall under the STEM category.
You might be surprised by just how much stem applications exist within Exercise Science. Keep reading to find out!
What Is Exercise Science?
Exercise science is a multidisciplinary field of study that focuses on the relationship between physical activity and human health, fitness, and performance. It encompasses many different aspects, including anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, kinesiology, nutrition, psychology, epidemiology, and sports medicine.
The ultimate goal of exercise science is to help individuals improve their overall health, fitness, and quality of life through effective physical activity interventions.
The Study of Human Movement and Performance
One of the primary areas of focus within exercise science is the study of human movement and performance. This includes understanding how the body moves in response to various types of physical activity, as well as how it adapts and changes over time with regular exercise.
Exercise scientists use a variety of methods to assess human movement and performance, including motion analysis systems, force plates, electromyography (EMG), and metabolic testing equipment. By analyzing these factors, they can identify areas where an individual may need further improvement or intervention to optimize their performance and minimize injury risk.
“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.” -Carol Welch
The Intersection of Health and Physical Activity
Another important aspect of exercise science is exploring the intersection between health and physical activity. Regular exercise has been shown to have numerous benefits for both physical and mental health, such as reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, while also improving mood, cognitive function, and overall wellbeing.
Exercise scientists play a vital role in identifying effective physical activity interventions for specific populations, whether it be designing exercise programs for athletes to enhance their performance or developing targeted interventions to help individuals manage chronic conditions and improve their quality of life.
Furthermore, exercise science is increasingly being recognized as a critical component of public health initiatives aimed at reducing the burden of chronic disease and promoting healthy communities. By better understanding the relationship between physical activity and health outcomes, researchers in this field are helping to inform policies and programs that can improve population health and reduce healthcare costs.
“Physical activity not only makes us feel good but contributes to the prevention of chronic diseases associated with aging.” -Felipe Lobelo
Is Exercise Science a STEM Major?
The short answer is yes, exercise science is generally classified as a STEM major (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). This is because it involves the application of scientific principles and methods to understand human physiology and movement, much like biology or kinesiology.
Unlike other STEM fields, exercise science also incorporates aspects of psychology, nutrition, and epidemiology, making it a truly interdisciplinary field. As such, graduates with a degree in exercise science may find employment opportunities across a wide range of industries, from sports performance and rehabilitation to public health and wellness.
Whether you’re interested in pursuing a career in exercise science or simply want to learn more about the impact of physical activity on human health and performance, this field offers a dynamic and rewarding area of study that continues to evolve and grow.
“Exercise science is an incredibly exciting area of study and research. There’s always something new to discover about how our bodies work and respond to physical activity.” -Darin Padua
What Does STEM Stand For?
STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These fields are all linked by their focus on logical reasoning, problem-solving skills, and innovation.
Science is a broad field that encompasses many different branches of study, from physics to biology. At its core, however, science is about understanding the natural world around us. Scientists use observation, experimentation, and analysis to gather data and draw conclusions. They then use this knowledge to develop new theories and technologies that can help us better understand and interact with our environment.
In terms of education, a degree in a science-related field is often seen as a valuable asset for those interested in pursuing STEM careers. Majors such as physics, chemistry, and biology are all considered part of the STEM umbrella.
Technology refers to the tools and systems we use to solve problems and complete tasks. Computers, smartphones, and other electronic devices are all examples of technology. However, technology also includes things like transportation systems, medical equipment, and renewable energy sources.
Those who work in technology are often focused on creating or improving these systems, whether it’s through software development, hardware design, or user experience testing. Degrees in computer science, information technology, and electrical engineering are all common pathways to a career in tech.
Engineering involves using scientific principles to design, build, and test machines, structures, and more. Engineers may work on anything from bridges and roads to consumer products like cell phones.
There are many types of engineering, including mechanical, civil, environmental, and chemical. Each of these specializations provides a unique set of technical skills and knowledge, but they all involve creative problem-solving and a focus on practical applications. A degree in engineering is often required for entry-level positions in the field.
So, where does exercise science fit into the STEM picture?
“Exercise Science has become one of the fastest-growing fields in recent years due to an increased understanding of its importance to health and physical function.” -American College of Sports Medicine
While some may argue that it falls under the broader category of “science,” others consider it to be a standalone discipline that incorporates elements of both science and sport.
At its core, exercise science focuses on the study of human movement and performance. This includes everything from how our bodies respond to different types of physical activity to how we can improve athletic training and injury prevention strategies.
To pursue a career in this field, students typically need to obtain a degree in exercise science or a related major such as kinesiology or sports medicine. While not strictly considered part of the STEM umbrella, these degrees often involve coursework in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and statistics—all areas that are critical to STEM fields.
In addition, the use of technology is becoming increasingly important in the field of exercise science. Wearable fitness trackers, digital health apps, and other tools are allowing researchers and coaches to collect data in new ways and gain deeper insights into human performance.
While there may be debate about whether exercise science counts as a STEM major, there’s no denying that it involves many of the skills and principles that make STEM fields so valuable. Whether you’re interested in pursuing a degree in exercise science specifically or simply want to explore the world of STEM more broadly, there’s no shortage of exciting opportunities and challenges to tackle.
What Are STEM Majors?
STEM majors are academic disciplines that revolve around Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These programs equip students with scientific and mathematical knowledge to help them solve complex problems in industries such as finance, technology, government, healthcare, manufacturing, and research.
Some of the most common STEM majors offered in colleges include biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, mathematics, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, software engineering, environmental science, and data science among others. All these programs share the common goal of combining analytical skills and creativity to find solutions to real-world problems affecting society.
Biology is one of the oldest sciences and a popular option for those seeking to explore life at cellular and molecular levels. In general, people who take up biology develop interests in living organisms, biological systems, human anatomy and physiology, biotechnology, genetics, ecology, zoology, and botany.
Graduates from this discipline have numerous career opportunities waiting for them across several fields, including pharmaceuticals, conservation biology, genetic counseling, biomedical research, immunology, forensic science, teaching, epidemiology, biochemistry, and microbiology. Therefore, if you have an interest in studying life at all its levels, finding patterns, and logic within these areas, then biology is a suitable STEM major for you to consider.
Chemistry explores how atomic particles interact to influence the properties of substances we use daily. This STEM major primarily teaches scholars on organic, analytic, and physical chemistry, which explains why things happen, what causes reactions, and predicting chemical behavior. Students who pursue chemistry learn about bonding, matter transformations, chemical structures, reaction mechanisms, modeling reactions, material synthesis, and purification processes.
When evaluating career paths, chemists possess numerous job opportunities in fields like biomedical research, food science, environmental quality assessment, materials science and engineering, chemical manufacturing, forensics, wastewater treatment, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, and microelectronics. Therefore to a person that seeks to deepen their understanding of nature’s basic structures and behavior around us, chemistry is an excellent STEM major to consider.
Physics is the systematic study of matter and energy, examining everything from subatomic particles to far-away galaxies manipulating mathematical models explaining why things behave in the manner that they do. Those who pursue physics programs find themselves focusing on classical mechanics, quantum optics, thermodynamics, electrical circuits, kinematics, relativity, or solid-state systems among others.
The versatility of this program makes it possible for graduates to work in emerging fields like biophysics, atmospheric science, nanotechnology, astrophysics, nuclear physics, civil engineering, medical physics, aerospace technology, renewable energy, and industrial robotics, among others. As such, physics offers great exposure into the fundamental laws of physics that govern modern society.
“STEM education involves combining subjects as computer science, engineering, mathematics, natural sciences and statistical data analysis – learning that will give our students the skills that they need to succeed in a digitally-driven economy” – Thonny Bloomer
Is Exercise Science Considered A STEM Major?
Yes, Because It Involves Biology and Physics
Exercise science is a field of study that focuses on the biological and physiological aspects of human movement. As such, exercise science programs typically require courses in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and biomechanics. These courses are firmly rooted in both biology and physics.
Biology is a fundamental component of exercise science because it deals with understanding how the body works at a cellular and molecular level. By studying different parts of the human body, including muscles, bones, and organs, biologists can piece together how various systems work together to enable physical activity. Understanding these underlying mechanisms is essential for designing effective exercise programs.
Moreover, physics plays an important role as well by helping us understand how forces interact with the body during movement. Biomechanics is a subfield of exercise science that studies motion, force, and energy in living organisms. This knowledge is integral when working towards injury prevention, enhancing performance, and improving overall health.
“Human movement requires the integrative workings of multiple disciplines – particularly where there are questions related to optimal health and enhanced athletic performance.” – The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
Yes, Because It Involves Technology and Engineering
The use of technology and engineering also plays a critical role in exercise science programs. Technological advancements have made it possible to measure and interpret real-time data that was previously impossible to obtain. Wearable devices, such as heart rate monitors, GPS watches, and accelerometers, provide valuable information about the intensity, duration, and frequency of physical activity.
Furthermore, engineers play a crucial role in developing equipment, tools, and infrastructure necessary for athletes or clients. Some examples are designing and building weightlifting apparatus, aquatic facilities, and performance analyzing tools. Thus, the role of engineering is often seen as an advance science underpinning movement and physical culture.
Lastly, technology also enables students to learn more effectively by using interactive digital media or virtual simulations which provide unique learning experiences that cannot be found in a standard textbook. All these elements combined make an exercise science program a part of STEM education.
“The development and promotion of physical activity through innovative techniques used in kinesiology is essential for promoting healthy lifestyles.” – National Science Foundation (NSF)
The Bottom Line
Exercise science is undoubtedly a STEM major because it encompasses numerous fields such as biology, physics, technology, engineering and many others. Great emphasis is placed on understanding how the biological mechanism responds during movement. Students pursuing this education stand to gain knowledge about the intricate workings of the body systems. This educational program not only leads one to becoming skilled professionals but has societal implications for advancements in health and wellness.
What Are The Benefits Of Pursuing A STEM Major?
High Demand for STEM Jobs
STEM majors, including exercise science, are highly sought after in the job market. With an increasing focus on technology and innovation, many companies are looking to hire individuals with technical skills that can contribute to their growth and development.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment in STEM occupations will continue to grow at a faster rate than all other occupations, with a projected increase of 8.8% between 2019-2029. Additionally, some areas within STEM have higher projected growth rates:
- Computer and information technology: 11%
- Mathematical science: 22%
- Medical scientists: 6%
As such, pursuing a STEM major like exercise science is likely to lead to better long-term career prospects.
Higher Average Salaries
In addition to strong demand, STEM majors also tend to earn higher salaries than non-STEM majors. According to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, STEM majors, on average, earn $500,000 more over their lifetime compared to non-STEM majors.
Exercise science is no exception, with graduates earning an average salary of $50,000 per year according to PayScale. This figure increases substantially as individuals gain experience and advance in their careers, making it a lucrative choice for those considering a career in this field.
Opportunities for Innovation and Advancement
STEM fields, by their very nature, offer numerous opportunities for innovation and advancement. New technologies and approaches are constantly being developed in these areas, which create avenues for exploration.
Exercise science, for instance, is a field that is constantly evolving as new research emerges. With a focus on human performance and health, exercise science offers many opportunities to develop new techniques and technologies that can improve outcomes for individuals across various domains.
Contribution to Society and the Environment
STEM fields have an enormous impact on society and the environment. By developing new technologies and approaches, they can help tackle some of the biggest challenges we face today, from climate change to medicine to logistics.
Notably, exercise science makes important contributions to both personal and public health. Through research and discoveries in this field, professionals are able to provide people with tools and information that can help them live healthy, active lives. Additionally, advancements in exercise science can contribute to the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, which represent one of the greatest health threats globally.
“The world needs more STEM majors who take an interdisciplinary approach and think about how their work impacts everything from the economy to the environment.” -Arun MajumdarIn conclusion, pursuing a STEM major like exercise science provides numerous benefits including strong demand, higher salaries, ample opportunities for innovation and advancement, and significant contributions to society and the environment. As such, it’s no surprise that STEM majors continue to be highly sought after by employers worldwide.
What Are The Career Opportunities In Exercise Science?
If you are passionate about health, fitness, and helping others achieve their goals, a career in exercise science might be the perfect fit for you. Although many people assume that exercise science is not a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) major, it is a part of science because of its focus on human anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, biomechanics, and nutrition.
A personal trainer works with individuals to help them set and achieve their fitness goals, such as losing weight, building muscle, or improving their overall health. A typical day for a personal trainer includes designing customized workout plans, teaching clients proper exercise techniques, monitoring progress, and providing feedback and encouragement along the way.
“The demand for personal trainers has been increasing rapidly in recent years due to the rising awareness of the benefits of physical activity,” says Ryan Halvorson, chief content officer of the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).
To become a personal trainer, you need at least a high school diploma or equivalent, a nationally accredited personal training certification, and good communication skills. Some employers prefer candidates with a degree in exercise science or a related field.
An athletic trainer specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating injuries and illnesses among athletes and active people. Athletic trainers work in various settings, including schools, hospitals, clinics, sports teams, performing arts companies, military branches, and rehabilitation centers.
“As high school sports grow more competitive, there will be more opportunities for athletic trainers working in secondary schools, especially multi-high-school districts, where budgets may permit better salaries and benefits,” according to U.S News & World Report.
The education requirements for athletic trainers typically include a bachelor’s or master’s degree in athletic training, which covers courses in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, nutrition, injury prevention, assessment, rehabilitation, and emergency care. Athletic trainers must also pass a national certification exam and meet state licensure requirements.
Other potential career paths in exercise science include physical therapist, wellness coordinator, strength and conditioning coach, exercise physiologist, cardiac rehabilitation specialist, occupational therapist, researcher, and educator.
If you love applying science to the field of fitness, exercise science offers a wide range of opportunities to help people achieve their physical potential while promoting long-term health and wellbeing. Regardless of your specific career path, studying exercise science can provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge that applies across multiple industries and disciplines.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Exercise Science and how does it relate to STEM?
Exercise Science is the study of how the body responds to physical activity. It involves the application of scientific principles to improve physical fitness, health, and performance. Exercise Science is closely related to STEM fields as it requires knowledge in biology, anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and kinesiology. It also involves the use of technology and data analysis to understand the effects of exercise on the body.
What are the core subjects of Exercise Science and do they align with STEM fields?
The core subjects of Exercise Science include anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, motor control, and nutrition. These subjects align with STEM fields as they involve the study of the human body, its functions, and the application of scientific principles to understand physical activity. Exercise Science also involves the use of technology, data analysis, and research methods to improve physical performance, health, and wellness.
There are several STEM majors that are closely related to Exercise Science, including biology, kinesiology, biomechanics, sports medicine, and nutrition. These majors focus on the study of the human body, its functions, and the application of scientific principles to improve physical performance, health, and wellness. Students pursuing these majors can gain a deeper understanding of Exercise Science and its applications.
How does Exercise Science incorporate research and data analysis, which are key components of STEM?
Exercise Science incorporates research and data analysis by using scientific methods to study physical activity and its effects on the body. Researchers collect data through experiments, surveys, and other methods to analyze the effects of exercise on physical performance, health, and wellness. This data is then used to develop programs and interventions to improve physical activity and health outcomes. Data analysis is also used to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs.
Is pursuing a degree in Exercise Science a good choice for students interested in STEM careers?
Pursuing a degree in Exercise Science can be a good choice for students interested in STEM careers, as it provides a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and math. It also offers opportunities to work in a variety of fields, such as sports medicine, physical therapy, fitness training, and research. Students can gain valuable skills in data analysis, research methods, and technology, which are highly valued in STEM careers.