The world's most useless degree...

Every time I meet my VA Vocational Rehab counselor, she reminds me that I have $100,000 education that I'm not actually using to make a living from...this in fact is true...kindof.  I do work as an engineer and my education does help me in my job at times, but not directly.  I do not hold an engineering degree, even though I am working on one.  I have undergrad and graduate degrees in kinesiology.  It's not the world's most useless degree, but not far from it.  You can argue the utility of a kinesiology degree and you will probably hear the strongest arguments from people who hold them, but it really doesn't translate into anything, unless you want to go into research or teaching kinesiology.  Sure you can specialize in one of the pillars of kinesiology, which a lot of people do, but it's generally hard to make a good living without additional skill sets that aren't always related.  Go to your sales or marketing department and I can guarantee that there's at least one person there who has an exercise science related degree. 

Kinesiology has five pillars; biomechanics, psychology, motor control/motor behavior, exercise physiology, and sociology.  You can make an argument for or against sociology, but I add it in there because I think that it's an important to include in the psycho-social aspects of movement science.  This degree on it's own can give you a great deal of knowledge and understanding into human performance, but on it's own, it's relatively useless professionally.  It's generally a degree you get before medical school or to be a physical therapist or any other allied health profession.

One of the things that my degree uniquely qualifies me to do is provide commentary on trends in health and wellness.  I do this through this platform because it's something that I am passionate about, not because it provides me a financial windfall.  So back to my useless, but useful education.  One of the things that I like about it is that if you apply the pillars of kinesiology into helping people (athletes, patients, or people who want to make a change) is that it forces you look at all of the variables affecting someone.  Working with athletes, I look at foot placement, joint angles/kinematics, loading patterns, conditioning requirements, fueling requirements, the mindset needed, individual and team interactions (sport depending), balance, timing/tracking, coordination, etc.  I applied the same approach to patients in the rehab and post-rehab setting, and working with individuals trying to make lifestyle changes.  

The point that I am trying to get at is that there is no silver bullet to long-term or permanent behavior and lifestyle change.  You have to address all of the issues.  I speak a lot about reducing all carbohydrates and increasing fats, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to go keto...I don't even like calling it keto because that's now becoming such a fad.  Also, not everyone needs to be on a ketogenic diet, but almost all of us can benefit from reducing carbs and increasing fat.  I also don't prescribe to a specific training or exercise program.  There are a lot of great ones out there, but most of us don't need to be crossfitters...if you are that's great and I love what it brings to the table, but at the end of the day, we don't need to be.  I have worked with people who want to get back to doing the activities that they used to do...like going to a dance class or rollerskating.  Once you can get back to those type of activities, that's a great workout and you are doing it with other people, so you are reinforcing your sense of community.  That social aspect is so important to, not just changing behavior, but maintaining those changes.  

So the big takeaway for the day, don't build your house of change with only one pillar.  Find the nutritional plan that will work best for you, find a way to be active or exercise that you enjoy, start engaging in activities that get you involved with other people.  If you don't, your house of change will fall like a house of cards...