• The study of the mechanisms by which the body functions
  • Anatomy was the forerunner of physiology
  • Study how our organ systems, tissues, cells, and molecules within cells work and how their functions are integrated to regulate our internal environments

Exercise physiology

  • The study of how our bodies’ structures and functions are altered when we are exposed to acute and chronic bouts of exercise

Sports physiology

  • Applies concepts in exercise physiology to enhance training of athletes and sports performance

Exercise physiology vs. Sports physiology

  • Exercise physiology research has found fat as the major energy source during rest and light exercise and carbohydrates (CHO) increasingly becomes the primary source as exercise intensity increases.

Sports physiology uses this information to: increase CHO stores, decrease rate of CHO use and improve diet.

  • Exercise physiology discovered overtraining.

Sports physiology used this to design an exercise program to reduce risk.


  • Body response to an individual bout of exercise

Example: changes to heart rate, respiration rate, skin and deep body temperature, and muscle activity

Can be affected by many factors:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Amount of light
  • Noise
  • Last meal


  • Body response over time to the stress of repeated exercise bouts

Adaptation that improves exercise capacity and efficiency

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