SU student aspires to become an occupational therapist


Exercising is important for anyone who is trying to lead a healthy lifestyle. Many times, people exercise by participating in an activity they enjoy doing, while others may need a little more cajoling to go out and take a walk.

Vanessa Elphick, a junior at Shippensburg University, not only enjoys exercising, but she plans to turn her passion into a life-long occupation.

Elphick is an exercise science major. Her school days not only incorporate the usual doldrums of schoolwork, but they also include various workouts as well.

Being an exercise science major is one field of study in which a person is forced to remain active.
Elphick’s classes usually integrate exercising and workouts into their curriculum.

These “lab” periods take place in Henderson Exercise Science lab, where the school provides the class with workout machines such as leg and arm ergometers, as well as treadmills and weights.
The ergometers measure how much work is being done by the person using them.

Elphick’s kinesiology class also includes exercise in its course work, but it is different than working out in a weight room environment.

“In my kinesiology and exercise physiology classes, we did many fitness tests including the one-mile run, two-mile run, sit and reach, the Margaria-Kaleman Power stair test, which tests anaerobic power (you run up 12 stairs as fast as possible, only stepping on every third step while being timed), long jump, vertical jump and others,” Elphick said.

Not only do exercise science majors have to remain active, but they are tested on their fitness abilities as well. Because of this, Elphick continues to be active outside of the classroom by going to Ship Rec daily to exercise for an hour.

While people may think being an exercise science major simply involves having fun and exercising, the coursework is actually very demanding.

According to Elphick, exercise science majors take many physiology and anatomy classes to better understand the body and what exercises are most beneficial for the body’s muscles, bones and arteries.

They also take physics classes in order to comprehend movement. These classes are far from easy.
“It is important to be strong in biology and definitely takes a lot of hard work and studying, but it is very rewarding and something that I am very passionate about,” Elphick said.

Graduating with a degree in exercise science can lead to some very interesting and fulfilling occupations.

These include, but are not limited to, physical therapy, occupational therapy, personal training, commercial health and fitness and being a dietician.

Exercise continues to increase on our society’s list of priorities. Shows like “The Biggest Loser” and new exercise regimes such as Zumba are helping people get healthy.
This calls for a higher demand of professionals to help people understand more about how exercise affects the body.

Upon graduation, Elphick will join this particular group of professionals. She hopes to eventually become an occupational therapist.

An occupational therapist assists those who are recuperating from either a physical or mental illness. The therapist encourages the patients to engage in everyday activities that involve exercise in hopes that they will soon be able to return to their normal daily routines.

This particular field of work requires more knowledge than is provided in the exercise science four-year program. Elphick is prepared to work harder to eventually obtain her dream to work as an occupational therapist.

“I want to go back to school after graduation to get my masters and possibly doctorate in occupational therapy,” Elphick said.

For now though, Elphick is enjoying the rest of her college career at Shippensburg.
She said she is passionate about her major and enjoys the varying aspects that are included in the curriculum.

The hard work and exercise pay off in more ways than one.
Elphick said, “The exercise science program is fun and interesting, and though it is challenging, it is very rewarding. I love that it is hands-on and that I get don’t have to sit in lectures all day.”

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