Specialty Area: Exercise Science

Description of Specialty: The specialists in this area develops individual exercise programs for (1) healthy individual; (2) individuals at high risks for cardiovascular disease; (3) individuals with known cardiovascular disease. In general, they treat individual in category (2) and (3).

1. Diagnosis: Risks and Benefits of Exercise

Questions that should be asked:

  1. What are the health benefits of regular exercise?
  2. What is the risk of a serious medical complication occurring during exercise?
  3. Is regular exercise safe and beneficial for me?

2. Diagnosis: Pre-participation Health Screening:

Questions that should be asked:

  1. Am I a candidate for any type of screening or testing prior to starting an exercise program?
  2. If so, what screening or tests do I need? (i.e. physical exam, exercise test)?
  3. Does a physician need to be involved in pre-exercise evaluation or can it be done by a non-medical health professional?
  4. If I need an exercise test or other diagnostic test, what are the risks of performing the test?
  5. What will an exercise test determine?
  6. Where do I go to perform an exercise test?
  7. Should my pre-exercise evaluation include other physical fitness testing?

3. Diagnosis: Exercise Prescription:

Questions that should be asked:

  1. Who will design an exercise program for me that will meet my personal goals and take into consideration my health history?
  2. Do I need to exercise in a setting supervised by health care professionals?
  3. Should my exercise include just exercise for my heart or should I being doing other forms of exercise as well?
  4. Are there any special precautions l need to take because of my health condition(s)?

4. Diagnosis: Changing Health Behaviors:

Questions that should be asked:

  1. In order to reduce my risk of cardiovascular disease, is starting an exercise program enough or should I be making other lifestyle changes?
  2. Can you assist me with making necessary lifestyle changes?
  3. If not, can you refer me to an individual or program that can help me?

Sandi Scharf, Exercise Therapist B.S. in Nursing Cardiac Center BJC West St. Louis, MO


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