Controversy Concerning who is an Exercise Physiologist

Share Article

In response to an increasingly large number of individuals who are incorrectly identifying themselves as physiologists, a group of senior scientists has provided clarification as to the appropriate qualifications to be an Exercise Physiologist.

The right for unqualified persons to identify themselves as “physiologists” has recently been challenged by a group of 21 senior scientists who are affiliated with a large number of prestigious universities and laboratories. During the past 20 years, increasingly large numbers of persons involved in exercise testing and exercise programming have inappropriately and incorrectly identified themselves as “Exercise Physiologists.”

The group of senior physiologists has clarified the matter by issuing a Statement to address the question, “Who is an Exercise Physiologist?”. They identify an exercise physiologist as a person with an earned doctoral degree who studies the acute responses and chronic adaptations of the humans to physical exercise.

Research in Exercise Physiology can be traced back to the late 1700’s although serious research by scientists employing modern methodology did not begin until the 1950’s.

During the past 20 years, physical exercise when regularly performed has been confirmed to play an important role in health enhancement and health maintenance. Scientific studies of exercise at university, clinical, and research institute laboratories have resulted in a more complete understanding of human physiology. This has also resulted in an increased use of exercise in rehabilitation, cardiovascular risk factor identification, and physical conditioning programs for activities of daily living, sport, and health enhancement.

Howard Knuttgen, PhD, of the Harvard Medical School pointed out that, “a person who assists in exercise testing or provides fitness counseling could be identified with a title such as Exercise Specialist, Exercise Trainer, Fitness Trainer, Exercise Technologist, Research Assistant, Fitness Specialist, or Personal Trainer. The title of Physiologist should be reserved for scientists who conduct research.”

See the complete Statement at the Internet address:


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Howard G. Knuttgen

(617) 573-2762
Email >
Visit website