The purposes of the course Exercise Physiology, Training and Performance are to:
Students will be acquainted with basic principles and working mechanisms of the pulmonary, cardiovascular, neuromuscular, endocrine and metabolic systems and the manner by which these systems adapt to facilitate muscular exercise. Students will then be taught how the manner in which each of these systems conflates to determine exercise performance, from the elite athlete to the critically ill patient. Finally, students will be taught key concepts surrounding exercise training and will be made to understand how the body adapts to exercise training. Students will develop their critical thinking skills by preparing and giving a presentation on contentious issues in exercise physiology. Students will also develop hands-on experience in the exercise physiology laboratory and learn to write a laboratory report. The course is written for students with no background in biology, physiology or exercise science.
- introduce students to the systems of the body and describe how these systems facilitate the demands of exercise,
- introduce students to the physiological factors that dictate human performance, and
- introduce students to key concepts surrounding exercise training and enhancement of performance.
By the end of the course, students will:
- Possess knowledge regarding the mechanisms by which the systems of the body enable muscular exercise to be performed
- Possess knowledge of the factors that limit exercise performance in a variety of scenarios and populations
- Possess knowledge of concepts surrounding exercise training and how the body adapts to training
- Be able to convincingly present evidence for and against a contentious issue in exercise physiology and arrive at sound conclusions by using their critical thinking skills
- Possess the ability to conduct standard exercise physiology laboratory tests and write a report based upon the results from these tests
The performance of muscular exercise requires an exquisite coordination between the various systems of the body to ensure that exercise can be sustained for more than a few seconds. That muscle adenosine triphosphate (ATP) concentrations are maintained at or near resting levels in almost all types of exercise shows how effectively the cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, neuromuscular and metabolic systems have been shaped by evolution to achieve this feat. During this course, students will learn the basic mechanisms by which each of these systems performs its function, and how these systems are able to adapt their function to enable the performance of physical exercise. Textbook knowledge will be combined with research data presented by researchers actively working in the field.
The first two lectures will serve as a basic introduction to the fields of physiology and biochemistry. The next block of six lectures will give students knowledge of the basics of exercise physiology. These six lectures will provide students with a basic understanding of exercise physiology and the role of the pulmonary, cardiovascular, neuromuscular, endocrine and thermoregulatory systems and of metabolism in supporting muscular exercise. The next three lectures will provide students the opportunity to understand how the bodily systems discussed in block 1 conflate to determine exercise performance.
The final two lectures will be focused on how exercise performance can be enhanced via exercise training. One lecture will be given on aerobic and anaerobic exercise training and one lecture will be given on resistance exercise training.
The contact hours, presentations and laboratory sessions are intended to support the learning process and support the following goals:
- The course consists of a series of lectures given by academics with a background in exercise physiology. Students will be taught a wide variety of topics underpinned by the themes of exercise physiology, exercise performance and exercise training. Since many topics are covered in this course, students will be expected to perform the required readings before each lecture.
- Students will be required to give presentations on contemporary topics that are considered to be contentious debates in exercise physiology. Students will be required to work in groups for this assessment. Various topics will be highlighted throughout the course of the lectures and students will be encouraged to choose their own topic and research it themselves.
- Students will take part in two practical sessions at the VU campus during which they will learn how to conduct two common tests performed in exercise physiology laboratories. The data obtained from these sessions will form the basis of a short laboratory report that students will be required to write, which will form an additional assessment.
- There will be an exam at the end of the course. The exam will be part essay-based and part multiple choice.
Workload & credits
- To obtain an introduction to the workings of the human body
- To obtain an introduction to exercise physiology
- To facilitate understanding of the factors that limit human performance
- To facilitate understanding of how exercise training works and how training programs are designed
- To enable students to develop their critical thinking skills by developing a presentation on a contentious issue in exercise physiology
- To enable students to develop their presentation skills in front of a scientific audience
- To develop practical exercise physiology skills
- To enable students to develop their scientific writing skills via a laboratory report
6EC: 26 hours / 13 lectures; 3 hours / 1 sessions with presentations; i.e. 120 hours preparation for contact hours, writing of the paper and exam.
The assessment consists of three parts:
Note that the presentation and report need to be graded with at least a 5. When graded with <5, this item needs a retake.
- Oral presentation on a contemporary issue in exercise physiology (25%)
- Short laboratory report based on the results of the practical sessions (25%)
- A mixed essay- and multiple choice question exam (50%)
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