Sports Performance, Health, and Fitness

Written by Joe Cicchetto

Picture this:  It’s the start of a brand-new semester and time to declare a major.  You excitedly scan the academic catalog to view your options.  “Sports Performance, Health and Fitness – That sounds interesting!”, you think to yourself.   Your next thought immediately jumps to the opportunities for future employment with that major.  That’s the way that deciding a major typically goes right?

My journey to choosing Sports Performance, Health and Fitness (named Exercise and Sport Science at my alma mater) was very similar to this.  I enjoyed exercising and I wanted to be healthy, so I was naturally led to major that incorporated both of these.  What I was unaware of at the time were the many avenues I could pursue with this degree post-graduation.  I had no idea I could tailor my future career to my interests with this major!  Let’s talk about a few of the things you might choose to do with this major:

Strength and Conditioning Coach:  If you enjoy strength and conditioning and working specifically with athletes, this may interest you!  Sports teams from high school through professional will hire strength and conditioning coaches to help develop the talent of their athletes through strength training programs.  These professionals are important because they help keep athletes healthy, which keeps them on the field!

Exercise Specialist:  Many Sports Performance, Health and Fitness majors are interested in working with healthy participants that seek to maintain or improve their health through a regular exercise program.   Exercise specialists work with their clients to develop exercise programs for populations such as athletes, healthy adults, senior adults or adolescents.  They may also work in management roles within fitness facilities.

Exercise Physiologist: This is the area that I chose to pursue after graduation!  Exercise physiologists work with a team of physicians, nurses, dietitians and mental health professionals to rehabilitate individuals living with heart disease (heart attacks, heart failure, chest pain), lung disease (COPD, lung cancer, lung transplants) or cancer.  The goal of these programs is to help patients live longer, healthier lives after a major health event.

The professions we discussed today are just the surface of things you could pursue with a degree in Sports Performance, Health and Fitness.  In our next discussion, we will discuss a few more along with some of the certifications you are eligible for with this degree.  Stay tuned!

About the author:

Professor Candace Langston is an Assistant Professor of Sports Performance, Health, and Fitness at St. Andrews University.  Additionally, she holds multiple health and exercise certifications including the Certified Exercise Physiologist (ACSM-CEP) and Exercise is Medicine credentials from the American College of Sports Medicine.  Prior to arriving at St. Andrews University, Professor Langston managed the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program at UNC Health Southeastern and is a past president of the North Carolina Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Association.