The Best Health and Fitness College Majors
Many people are interested in finding a career that allows them to combine their love of health and fitness with a desire to help others. But aside from becoming a doctor, a nurse, or a P.E. coach, many students have little knowledge of suitable fields of study they might pursue. So here are just a few majors that have the potential to meet the needs of a compassionate individual that wants to focus on health and fitness.
All kinds of people will need physical therapy at some point in their lives. It’s not just professional athletes that take advantage of these specialists. So if you want to help people regain physical functionality after an accident, injury, or illness and get back to their normal lives, then this is a great option for a major.
Modern man is plagued by food-related issues, from obesity and resultant disorders (heart disease, diabetes, joint issues, etc.) to digestive problems like dairy and gluten intolerance, IBS, and Crohn’s Disease, just for example. And considering the vast array of processed foods available in supermarkets, it’s not surprising that few people even know how to feed themselves in a healthy and nutritious manner anymore. As a nutritionist you can help to guide people towards targeted diet plans that help them to feel better and lead a healthier life.
Many people are fed up with the tenets of western medicine, which often has a tendency to treat symptoms rather than causes and pushes pharmaceuticals and invasive surgeries as a first, rather than last, option. Of course, the benefits of western medicine depend largely on the doctor, the patient, and the illness, but the fact is that more and more people are seeking alternatives, and as a result, the field of naturopathy has been growing.
Of course, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, herbology, and other fields of study for naturopaths have long been practiced in other parts of the world (for several thousand years, actually). So it’s not like this is anything new. But for Americans raised on western medicine, it can be a bit of a leap to this totally opposite method of treatment, which tries to balance the many systems of the body in order to achieve optimum health and wellness.
This is kind of a catchall degree where interests of human movement are concerned. For instance, you could go into physical therapy or personal training with such a degree. But you might also help to design ergonomic solutions for office workers, participate in creating orthopedics and prosthesis, and even aid in the design of exercise or rehabilitation equipment and technology. You’ll have to decide which avenue interests you, but all start with the study of human movement.
Not all health is physical, and plenty of people need a helping hand when it comes to their mental health, as well. Of course, you will have to undergo extensive schooling in order to earn a degree in psychology. By seeking out the best mental health degrees available, though, you can get the training you need to help people cope with the mental and emotional issues that disrupt their daily lives and keep them from achieving optimum health and happiness.
If you want to work in health and fitness, you have many choices. Maybe you want to be a hands-on personal trainer. That’s what I did for several years, and it was great. But maybe you’re looking to provide people with relief from their stress, in which case psychology or physical therapy, or even massage therapy might be your best choice. If you only want to focus on nutrition, then sports nutrition, homeopathy, or naturopathy are probably what you should choose.
No matter what you choose, there are programs you can use to get licensed and certified, but most colleges also offer 2 and 4 year degrees for most of those majors. Make the choice based on what you really want to do, not what you think you should do. But always remember that if you don’t make the right choice the first time, you can always go back and try something new. Life is, after all, pretty good.