Exercise science, kinesiology, or sports medicine…there are about ten title variations for the same field of study. Attempting to explain this discrepancy to friends and family is near impossible; they will never understand no matter how hard they try. Sadly, we struggle half the time to comprehend our own degree and the numerous, complex requirements that accompany it. Here is a condensed list of facts that every exercise science major at UD knows to be 100% accurate.
1. Exercise is life…or so they think.
In order to pursue this major, there is no doubt that you must have a passion for an active lifestyle and wholesome diet. That does not indicate, however, that we are all “gym rats” and live out our existence from behind an elliptical. We have lives outside of exercise!
2. Sliding filament theory is gospel.
Introduction to Exercise, a prerequisite that must be completed freshman year, compiles four years of science and movement courses into a whirlwind of a semester. The take- home message: sliding filament theory. Initiation of the action potential…acetylcholine released…depolarization…action potential propagates…the exposure of binding sites…actin and the myosin head bind. And repeat. Over and over again. This will certainly not be the last time you encounter the theory; in fact, it will never go away. Not now, and not when you are a licensed professional twenty years into your career. Learn the theory, live it, love it.
3. We have ambitions beyond teaching P.E.
In the case of exercise science, it should be considered a diverse “stepping stone” degree. This is excellent, as long as you have a long-term plan for after graduation. If you have no intention of pursuing a “professional” healthcare degree, this probably isn’t the path for you. A bachelor’s degree will not get you very far in this field; full-time “Exercise Scientists/ Physiologists” jobs are few and far between. But if you commit for the long-haul (graduate school, clinicals, etc), this degree could open a variety of doors, from physical therapy and bio-mechanics to physician assistant.
4. Integrated Bisc/Chem…
Bisc 207 and Chem 103 are two four- credit courses which meet three times each in a week span: twice a week for lecture (1 hour and 15 minutes) and once for lab (2 hours.) The argument is that integration of the two sciences will assist students since it unifies two demanding concepts: to understand the role or connections within biology will simplify the more abstract chemistry. While I will vouch for the value of knowledge the curriculum provides, be prepared to commit your life to earning a decent grade. Seriously, for the duration of the semester, Bisc/Chem will take priority above all else.
5. You can now diagnose all injuries and bodily ailments.
I know the components of the body (bones, muscles, tendons, tissues, cells, etc) and their function like the back of my hand. Yes, I am first-aid certified. And I may have seen the ENTIRE Grey’s Anatomy series through twice…yet I am still NOT A DOCTOR. So, in regards to your injury/ symptom/ ache and pain, I can neither legally nor competently pinpoint the problem. I will, however, suggest a particular stretch or holistic remedy that I believe to be effective.
6. Bad form at the gym is cause for a cringe.
Knees that cave when performing a squat. An arched back mid elbow plank. Oh! how my heart aches to witness such crimes. It takes every ounce of self- restraint not to be the one who crushes their self confidence. Instead, I take the hands off, “lead-by-example” approach. I am capable of executing the moves correctly and, indirectly, teaching others proper form.
7. Gains for days.
Just no… A well-planned hydration and nutrition plan have a positive influence on athletic and recreational activity. Combine a wholesome diet with physical training (cardio AND strength), conditioning, mental preparation, optimal sleep habits, and discipline, and behold: the keys to a well-rounded lifestyle. The presence of a multi-billion dollar supplement industry marketing specialized nutrition products, otherwise known as “gains”, bamboozles the average Joe into replacing whole foods with a slew of dietary supplements. Bars, powders, gummies, and pills… I prefer my protein to come from natural sources, such as nut butters and fish. Oh, and I like a slice of cake every once in a while. Sorry, not sorry.
8. We know how to rock athletic wear everyday of the week.
With the recent emergence of athleisure, it is now socially acceptable to sport sneakers and yoga pants in just about every setting. Tights, leggings, tanks, and dressed up sweats…it seems every store and brand has jumped on the trend bandwagon. USA Today reports that the active wear market is growing exponentially, severely cutting into the sale of jeans. Now a more predominant part of everyday wardrobe, athleisure offers the wearer greater convenience; gone are the days of toting an over sized duffel packed with gym wear. Don’t get me wrong, I own my share of stylish boutique pieces. But an Underarmour tank and Nike crops are functional and comfy, perfect for those long days in the lab. It isn’t difficult to spot an exercise science major at UD.
9. Exercise science jokes never fail to make us laugh.
As an exercise science major at UD, you spend your days with the same group of sixty or so people, slaving over the same load of science and human anatomy courses. These tight-knit bonds form over your college career, to the point that it almost becomes like a cult. Unless you are a health sciences major, the jokes we have are not going to be funny. And we never get tired of telling them.
10. Exercise science is the best major EVER.
I realize that I have painted a grim picture of the life of an exercise science major at UD. My apologies, I had no intention of scaring the hell out of you…just be sure you understand what lies ahead. Don’t get me wrong, the course load can take its toll, and you will probably want to throw in the towel a number of times. But honestly, this is the most rewarding major out there! To have the opportunity to help a patient regain their mobility and livelihood outweighs the burden of incessant lab reports and exams. Take a deep breath, this will all be worth it one day.