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By studying this chapter, you should be able to do the following:

  1. Define physiology and exercise physiology.

  2. Identify the key milestones in the evolution of exercise physiology from 1900 to the present.

  3. List the steps involved in the scientific method.

  4. Describe the two major categories of research designs.

  5. Identify the two primary venues where research in exercise physiology is performed.

  6. Define basic and applied research.

  7. Explain evidence-based practice in medicine and exercise science.

  8. Outline the process of using a search engine to explore the literature and retrieve peer-reviewed research studies on topics related to exercise physiology.

  9. Identify and discuss the purpose of the individual sections that comprise a scientific research report.

  10. Describe five key steps that can be used to evaluate the quality of a research study.

  11. Identify six important professional organizations linked to exercise physiology and sports science.

  12. Explain the benefits associated with achieving fitness/clinical certifications offered by professional organizations.

  13. List five career opportunities for students with a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology and kinesiology.


Milestones in the Evolution of Exercise Physiology

  • Milestones in Exercise Physiology—the Early Years (1900–1950)

  • Milestones in Exercise Physiology—Second Half of the Twentieth Century (1951–2000)

  • Milestones in Exercise Physiology Research—2001 to Present

Exercise Physiology Research: The Path to New Knowledge

  • The Scientific Method

  • Classes of Research Designs

  • Field and Laboratory Research

  • Basic and Applied Research

Reading and Understanding Scientific Journals

  • Searching the Scientific Literature

  • Components of a Scientific Research Report

  • How to Critically Evaluate the Quality of a Research Study

Exercise Physiology/Sports Science Professional Organizations

Certification by Professional Organizations

Careers in Exercise Physiology and Related Fields

Key Terms

applied research

basic research

case study

dependent variable

evidence-based practice

experimental research

independent variable

nonexperimental research


translational research

Physiology is the study of living organisms. Physiologists study questions related to how cells, tissues, and organ systems function in humans and other animals. Exercise physiology is a branch of physiology that investigates how a single bout of exercise (acute exercise) and repeated bouts of exercise (i.e., training programs) impact cells, tissues, and organ systems of the body. Moreover, exercise physiology explores the responses to acute exer cise and exercise training at environmental extremes (e.g., high altitudes or high ambient temperatures) to determine the impact of these influences on our ability to perform and adapt to exercise training. Exercise physiology studies are also performed on young and old individuals, both healthy and those with disease. This important research helps to understand the role that regular exercise plays in the prevention of disease or rehabilitation from chronic illnesses. Finally, exercise physiology also explores many sports performance-related questions such as “Does an individual require a genetic gift to become an outstanding distance runner, or can anyone become an exceptional endurance athlete with sufficient training?” “What adaptations occur in your skeletal muscles when you engage in regular resistance training?” “What changes occur in your cardiovascular system and skeletal muscles as a ...

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