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5 Ways to to Make Exercise Physiology a More Approachable Topic for Students

Nabiha Khalid
Teaching with Labster
October 18, 2022

Introduction to exercise physiology

Kinesiology is a branch of the medical as a whole that comprises many sub-fields, one of which is called exercise physiology. These doctors investigate the ways in which the body reacts to different types of exercise, as well as the ways in which the body adjusts to different types of exercise over time. Exercise physiologists are accountable for training individuals to improve physiological fitness and enhance health levels while maintaining a heightened awareness of the potential risks involved with a single session of exercise.

When you work out, you are contributing to the formation of a  healthy lifestyle that will be capable of moving around and performing all the tasks that you require. Understanding how your body reacts to physical activity is all there is to it when it comes to exercise psychology. Kinesiology, which refers to the study of how human movement occurs, is the discipline that encompasses this field of study. Exercise physiology is the study of how the cells and organs of the body, such as those of the circulatory, muscular, and respiratory systems, adapt in response to acutely (short) and chronically (long, over time) periods of physical activity.

The study of exercise physiology aims to accomplish two separate things:

  • The practice of moving one's body in order to gain a deeper understanding of how that body works.

  • The application of this information to the creation of activities and programs that are intended to establish, continue and promote physical fitness. 

Learning how your body reacts to brief bursts of physical activity and how it adjusts to longer-term, more frequent bursts of physical activity over the course of time can have a significant impact on your overall health and can assist you in achieving a higher level of fitness and health over the course of time. For instance, aerobic or cardiovascular activity can have an effect on your mood. Your body will begin to produce endorphins, which are natural compounds that reduce pain and give you a sense of well-being, as soon as you finish a fast walk of at least thirty minutes. If you already know that walking improves your mood, then you already know that including walking into your fitness routine on a regular basis can help with health problems and can relieve stress, depression, tension, and anxiety.

Fitness and rehabilitation are the two primary subfields that can be pursued in exercise physiology as areas of concentration. Fitness may assist individuals in losing weight and becoming healthier and more physically fit, as well as help professional athletes enhance their performance. Fitness can also help athletes perform better. Those who are afflicted with conditions such as diabetes and coronary heart disease can benefit from the rehabilitation's primary goal of providing health advantages to patients. People who are healing from accidents or coping with chronic diseases, such as arthritis or lower back pain, may also find that it benefits them.

Because it involves so many different aspects of physiology, instructing students on this subject may prove to be boring for them; nevertheless, the subject can be made more fascinating by focusing on situations that commonly entail exercise and pain. So let's say that you have been lifting too much weight at the gym, which has resulted in some lower back pain for you. The first thing you do is book an appointment with a physiologist who specializes in exercise, and they walk you through the process of designing a specialized workout regimen. Workout regimens that have been tailored to an individual in order to address their unique requirements might be referred to as "customized fitness programs." This indicates that a person's age, gender, present health status, and history of injuries are taken into account while developing an exercise program that is sustainable. The application of exercise physiology in clinical sports medicine is an extremely significant part of the field. Research in the field of exercise physiology has shown several significant impacts of physical activity on the organs, tissues, and cells of the body.

Why can exercise physiology be tricky to learn?

There are three distinct categories of probable elements that contribute to the difficulty of learning physiology:

1) The fundamental nature of the field:

The human body is an incredibly intricate system consisting of muscles, veins, organs, and nerves; all of these components have names and perform peculiar functions. Students tend to lose interest in difficult topics to learn because of the difficulty involved in doing so.

2) The method by which it is taught: 

At this point, we are discussing the action of the muscle, and we are presenting the students with a single one-plane picture of the topic together with lengthy paragraphs. They are not experiencing what actually happens inside the body, which would confuse them.

3) The complex biological interaction between the various biochemical signaling pathways

During physiological activity, many different metabolic pathways, such as glycolysis, the Kreb cycle, the electron transport chain, and glycogen and lipid metabolism, among others, are activated, regardless of the area of the body that is being worked. Students often have trouble concentrating on the process of biomolecules exchanging roles to play in a certain portion of the body. Research into the more complex connections between physiology and biochemistry is required if one wants to achieve an understanding of the overall process. Students might find this uninteresting, particularly if there is a lot of text to read.

Five ways of making Exercise physiology a more interesting topic for students

1) Prior knowledge

Giving the basic idea to the students of how the body works. Physiological research has impacted our knowledge of the various parts of our body, how they interact with one another, and how they maintain our health. This study has ranged from ancient notions to techniques developed in molecular laboratories. The field of physiology can be broken down into a wide variety of subfields that address a wide range of issues, including defence, evolution, and exercise. Research into cardiopulmonary function, bioenergetics, skeletal muscle physiology,  neuroendocrine, biochemistry, biomechanics,   and nervous system function are all included in exercise physiology. It is not necessary for you to be an expert in all of these things; nonetheless, you should have a sense of what truly happens to your body when you put it through a routine workout and why it is vital to study.

2) Learning through practical application

The application of exercise physiology in clinical sports medicine is an extremely significant part of the field. Research in the field of exercise physiology has shown several significant impacts of physical activity on the organs, tissues, and cells of the body. Research in the field of exercise physiology has uncovered several major impacts that exercise has on the systems, tissues, and cells of the body. The productivity of an athlete can be strengthened by gaining an understanding of the influence that different types of exercises have on the athlete's various body components. In addition to this, regular physical activity can also serve as a path toward leading a healthier lifestyle. Patients can be treated by engaging in physiotherapy if the appropriate exercise physiology knowledge is possessed.

3) Hands-on exercise testing experience 

Providing students with opportunities to collaborate with others and put the knowledge they have gained in the classroom to use, students will receive hands-on laboratory training and will have the opportunity to engage in exercise physiology, biomechanical, and neuromuscular workshops. In addition, students will be required to participate in a senior capstone assignment. The use of exercise testing as a clinical technique has grown increasingly significant as a means to evaluate patients' exercise capacities and forecast their outcomes in medical conditions. It offers an evaluation of the integrative exercise processes that involve the pulmonary, cardiovascular, and skeletal muscle systems, as well as the neurological system. These reactions are not fully captured by the measurement of the function of separate organ systems.

4) Research-based teaching

Because the materials are so varied and abstract for the students, it can be challenging for some of the pupils to learn the material well. In addition, there is considerable tension between decreasing the number of teaching hours and adjusting the lesson plan, both of which are necessary. It is proposed that the teaching style of research-oriented education on the exercise physiology topic based on the internet environment be investigated to see whether or not it is feasible. This would allow for the problems to be resolved and the teaching impacts to be improved. 

5) Utilizing virtual lab simulations

Simulations of virtual laboratories are the most effective and user-friendly method available in game form for conveying information about this subject in an approachable and straightforward manner.

At Labster, we provide a wide range of simulation experiments, all aiming to better comprehend the three-dimensional operation of muscles located within the human body. It offers remote-based access to simulation-based facilities where various exercise modes can be performed, with explanations of the physiological processes involved. In addition, it will pique the pupils' interest, motivating them to carry out experiments. Through remote testing, they would gain a better understanding of fundamental as well as more complex topics thanks to this. The virtual physiology by Labster goes well beyond the capabilities of traditional educational tools by providing on-screen simulations of laboratories that seem realistic and are fully equipped, where students are allowed to view the muscle working from all different angles and signaling pathways. 

Exercise Physiology GIF

Figure: GIF from Labster's Exercise Physiology Virtual Lab.

References:

https://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=jas.2014.2386.2390

https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/advan.00057.2006

https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/exercise-testing-and-interpretation/EA535E01F6E75FC8F0665F42AB29A448

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