Cardiac Rehabilitation-Opportunities for Adapted Physical Education. (Issues)

By Stein, Julian U. | Palaestra, Fall 2002 | Go to article overview
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Cardiac Rehabilitation-Opportunities for Adapted Physical Education. (Issues)

Stein, Julian U., Palaestra

With school-centered physical education currently being reduced, or even eliminated, it behooves universities with physical education/exercise science professional preparation programs to explore and introduce additional career options for students. Some forward-thinking university departments have introduced additional professional preparation opportunities through exercise science options, including fitness/wellness, coaching, physiology of exercise, sports medicine, athletic training, sport management, sport psychology, sport physiology, sport journalism, sportcasting, pre-physical therapy. H. owever, one area very few of these programs has addressed is cardiac-pulmonary rehabilitation.

Cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation offers much for both undergraduate and graduate students preparing through physical education/exercise science programs, including those in adapted physical education. Placement and employment opportunities consist of hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, therapy centers, cardiologists' offices, YMCAs, and community health/fitness centers. Important roles and responsibilities of all physical educators include preventative information and activities in their programs for all students.

Although physical therapists are responsible for walking, and introducing exercise programs in hospitals after operations, postoperative and on-going maintenance programs include exercise trainers as part of the total rehabilitation team--individuals who receive training through physical education/exercise science programs, with specializations in cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation. Basic activities found in both post-operative and on-going maintenance programs are those with which most graduates of physical education/exercise science programs, especially those in adapted physical education, should be quite familiar--aerobic and anaerobic activities, cross training, fitness/wellness activities, warm-up and cool down practices, treadmill walking, arm ergometry, stationary cycling, light weight training, step walking, and, where facilities are available, aquatic activities such as swimming, water walking, and water aerobics.

Preparation for these roles includes foundation, general education, specialized courses, simulations, observing and assisting in ongoing programs, and required internships. Foundation courses include science courses in zoological or biological areas, physics, chemistry, anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, physiology of exercise, biomechanics, assessment and evaluation; health, fitness, and wellness.

General education courses are little different for whatever a student's specialization/concentration--English, speech, math; psychology, sociology, and other behavioral sciences; history, political science, and other social sciences; and fine arts/humanities. Usual requirements in safety, first aid, CPR, automated external defibrillator (AED) uses, and selected health courses are included, along with those in computers and information systems.

Students with concentrations or specializations in adapted physical education have additional backgrounds, experiences, and competencies important in cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation processes.

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