Exercise scientists assist sportspeople to achieve the best possible sporting performance by applying knowledge and techniques from the areas of biomedical science, physiology, biomechanics (the study of human movement), nutrition, psychology and sport assessment.
Exercise scientists may perform the following tasks:
- conduct assessments specific to an athlete's sport to determine how to improve sporting performance
- devise treatment and exercise programmes that support athletes' preparation and recovery, and help them return to training or competition
- conduct research, make observations and interpret data in relation to sporting performances, and communicate findings to officials, athletes, coaches and other support staff
- design or assist in developing training programmes for sportspeople to improve sporting performance and reduce the risk of injury
- refer clients to sports medicine physicians and other health professionals such as physiotherapists, dietitians, sports psychologists and podiatrists
- work as part of the athlete's support team to develop the athlete's performance.
An exercise physiologist provides scientific support to sportspeople by studying how their bodies respond to physical activity. This can be done using various methods such as studying responses to exercise and training, analysing heart-rate data and blood samples or measuring changes in a sportsperson's strength and flexibility.
Motor Control and Learning Specialist
A motor control and learning specialist uses their knowledge of motor control and learning to analyse an athlete's perceptual and decision-making abilities during sporting events and devises strategies to improve learning and performance.
A sports biomechanist conducts computerised analyses of an athlete's sporting technique. This is done using high-speed video, force transducers and other mechanical devices to determine the athlete's mechanical efficiency. Working in conjunction with the coach, they also devise methods to improve the athlete's technical efficiency.
A sports scientist works with elite sports teams or individuals in order to improve their performance, using knowledge from the areas of physiology, psychology, biomechanics and motor development.
Exercise scientists often attend training sessions and sporting events to monitor sporting performances in addition to working in an office or testing laboratory. They have a high level of contact with the public.
- interested in sport and fitness
- interested in physical and biomedical sciences
- good observation and problem-solving skills
- able to work with accuracy and attention to detail.
Education and Training, Employment Opportunities and Additional Information
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