Exercising your way to a career

Exercise and physical fitness can lead to different careers in this field.

Physical fitness and exercise is important for us to get into shape and live healthy lives. ChooseMyPlate.gov, through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), gives the amount of physical activity needed for adults, youth and children. There are opportunities for people of all ages to get into physical fitness and exercise through schools, community centers, sports leagues, recreational departments in cities and parks, fitness centers, home or in their neighborhood. Simple activities such as taking a walk, running, riding a bike, lifting weights or playing a sport consist of exercise. If you enjoy exercising or any form of exercise, would you like to train or help others exercise? If so, did you know there is a career for you in this area?

In an article in the Houston Chronicle by Aurelio Locsin of Demand Media, four careers in exercise science are fitness trainers, athletic trainers, physical therapists and occupational therapists. Other careers options are becoming an exercise physiologist or a strength and conditioning coach. Pursuing at least a bachelor’s degree (four-year college degree) would qualify someone for these careers, however educational qualifications may vary for fitness trainers according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For a bachelor’s degrees, some majors in college for pursuing an exercise-related career are athletic training, exercise science and kinesiology.

Students interested in careers in exercise can get started in high school. Participating in activities relating to exercise and fitness would be good steps to take for career preparation. Michigan State University Extension offers some ideas:

  • Get involved in playing a sport in school or in an organized recreation league.
  • Participate in aerobics and exercise classes and observe how they are facilitated.
  • Get involved in 4-H and facilitate the physical fitness activities in the STEPS to a Healthy Teen for a 4-H club and other youth in the community.
  • Check into volunteer opportunities at a local community center, the city’s parks and recreation department or youth sports leagues.
  • Explore possibilities through school or a workforce preparation organization to job shadow a professional in a career related to exercise and fitness.

Take the time to research different careers that may fit your interests in exercise, and take the initiative to participate in activities to prepare you for this career. There are opportunities for careers related to exercise and physical fitness. Take the necessary steps to get ready and thrive in this career field.

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