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What Does an Exercise Physiologist Do?

December 23, 2021
June 21, 2023
Nurse measuring patients blood pressure during exercise electrocardiography

Did you know that according to one study, an estimated 23.4 million adults (10.3 percent of the adult population) experience ongoing pain? Living in pain is obviously not a lot of fun, and can significantly diminish quality of life. Pain not only takes away from the enjoyment of life, but it is also one of the biggest issues affecting productivity levels at work and school. Unfortunately, many people either ignore their pain (until it becomes unbearable), or decide to treat the symptoms of the pain without getting to the root cause.  

According to the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), “in 2015–2018, 10.7% of U.S. adults used one or more prescription pain medications in the past 30 days (Figure 1). Use increased with age, from 5.4% among adults aged 20–39 to 12.7% for those aged 40–59 to 15.1% for those aged 60 and over.”  

Though prescription and over-the-counter pain medication can certainly be needed in many cases of debilitating pain, finding ways to address the root causes of that pain should also be a priority. Below, we explain the role of exercise physiology in helping people deal with pain in a holistic and wholesome manner.  

What Is Exercise Physiology?  

Physiology, as a definition, is the academic and scientific study of the body and how it works. Within the realm of physiology, scientists and medical professionals study and decipher the huge range of mechanical, physical and chemical processes that take place within our bodies on a daily basis. This knowledge serves several purposes, from achieving better diagnosis of illness, to understanding how to improve athletic performance.   


Exercise physiology is one particular branch of physiology that utilizes the knowledge about how the body works to identify dysfunction and causes of certain types of pain, and recommend effective exercise programs that can help with rehabilitation and return to function, as well as relief from discomfort. Exercise physiology, then, can play an important role in helping to reduce the root causes of pain. In some cases, it can also contribute to a holistic treatment program to treat several types of chronic health conditions. 


What Does an Exercise Physiologist Do?  

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), “exercise physiologists develop fitness and exercise programs that help injured or sick patients recover.”  


Many exercise physiologists work with doctors and other medical health professionals to help patients recover from injuries, illness or conditions they have diagnosed. After identifying some of the root causes of pain and discomfort, an exercise physiologist can help patients use fitness and exercise routines to alleviate that pain and help improve overall health outcomes.  


An exercise physiologist will also understand certain safety issues that are associated with each type of physical activity to help limit further aggravating the underlying cause of pain.  


How Can an Exercise Physiologist Help a Work-Based Health and Wellness Program?  

Obesity, diabetes, and chronic heart conditions are three of the most common chronic diseases affecting people around the United States. In our work lives, these chronic health conditions are associated with substantially increased rates of absenteeism from work, and drastically reduced productivity levels while on the job. According to one recent analysis, “obese workers take more sick days, have longer sick leaves and incur greater productivity losses than do non-obese workers.” 


Exercise physiologists can help workplaces and businesses develop fitness and exercise programs that help patients recover from chronic diseases and improve cardiovascular function, body composition, and flexibility. A healthier workforce will also be a much more productive workforce. Furthermore, offering the services of an exercise physiologist can improve employee retention rates and improve your overall company culture.  


Bring Exercise Physiology to Your Workplace With Work-Fit 

If you think that an exercise physiologist might be a good resource for your employees, Work-Fit is a leading onsite and telehealth injury prevention and wellness management service for your workforce. We have years of experience in helping businesses from all different industries to create and implement holistic wellbeing and  injury prevention programs.  


Our injury prevention management program is a great resource for helping to improve the health and wellness of your employees. We have a team of exercise physiologists, health and fitness professionals, and athletic trainers that are all trained in the top safety standards for any industry, and can help you protect your workers and your bottom line from all different sorts of workplace injuries and illnesses.  


Contact Work-Fit today to see how we can help your company develop the best health standards for your business.  


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