Department of Exercise Sciences


Life at the Department of Exercise Sciences

Flex your brain and muscles - explore the study of Exerecise Sciences at the University of Auckland.

What is Exercise Sciences?


Exercise Sciences is a discipline that focuses on how and why humans move. Exercise Sciences study the mind, muscle, mechanics and metabolism of the human body to understand the role of exercise in health and performance.

The Exercise Sciences include four inter-related areas:

  • human physiology – how the body works and responds to exercise, from cell to behaviour
  • biomechanics/computational movement science – the quantitative analysis and simulation of movement performance
  • exercise psychology - understanding why we act and move the way we do
  • movement neuroscience – exploring the role of the brain in sensing and moving

The disciplines are built upon foundations of:

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • biology
  • chemistry
  • mathematics
  • psychology
  • physics

The Exercise Sciences use physical activity (exercise, recreation, sport, rehabilitation), as a vehicle to study human performance and health. It is a unique subject with close relationships to several other disciplines in sciences, health sciences and bioengineering. Graduates in the Exercise Sciences contribute to science and evidence-based practice in health, education, sport and rehabilitation professions.

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Why study Exercise Sciences?


  • Curiosity and excitement. The exercise sciences dig below the skin to study physical activity from cell to behaviour.
  • Career prospects. Wide and varied opportunities in health care as clinical exercise physiologist, exercise scientist, human performance, education, personal training, clinical research, rehabilitation practitioner, cardiac physiologist, sports coordinator, sport scientist (consultant in biomechanics, exercise, nutrition, physiology).
  • Postgraduate opportunities. An increased understanding of the exercise sciences leads to specialisation on conducting research, and in the assessment, prescription, and delivery of exercise-related rehabilitation services to people with a wide range of medical conditions.
  • Essential transferable skill-set. The development of problem solving, logical thinking, and computational and analytical skills promotes life-long and self-directed learning, being research-informed and laboratory competent, and having an enhanced awareness of the relationship and importance between physical activity and health.  
  • Practical opportunities. Exercise sciences are an integral part of the University of Auckland Health and Performance Clinic that provides exercise-based rehabilitation services. Exercise science based careers include cardiac and respiratory technicians and physiologists, exercise and human movement scientists, injury prevention consultants, and fitness trainers and consultants. 
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