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Exercise Physiology

Module titleExercise Physiology
Module codeESS2001
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Dr Daryl Wilkerson (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module builds on the knowledge gained of exercise physiology during Stage 1 to explore the body’s responses to acute and chronic exercise. During this broad module you will learn theories pertaining to aerobic and anaerobic performance, cardiovascular and ventilatory responses to exercise, the regulation of exercise intensity, exercise at altitude, body composition and physical activity, and the impacts of aging and disease on physiological function. This module includes laboratory sessions to develop your practical skills and knowledge required to asses a selection of the above factors. During the course of this module, you will develop your ability to engage in critical commentary and raise your awareness of differing theoretical standpoints within this area.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module seeks to develop the foundation knowledge of exercise physiology gained at Stage 1 to explore the body’s physiological response to exercise. The module will deal with the assessment and interpretation of aerobic and anaerobic fitness and performance, blood lactate, lactate and ventilatory thresholds and cardiovascular control during exercise.

Graduate attributes. As part of this module you are expected to develop the following skills:

  • Team working
  • Application of knowledge
  • Confident communicators
  • Enquiring mind
  • Ethical awareness/thinking
  • Data management skills

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain the biochemistry of energy production during muscular exercise
  • 2. Assess and comment on submaximal and maximal anaerobic and aerobic performance
  • 3. Describe the interrelationship of physiological systems and responses during exercise at different intensities
  • 4. Distinguish between differing theoretical standpoints in exercise physiology

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Analyse and evaluate data objectively
  • 6. Appraise the research literature
  • 7. Conceptualise issues

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 8. Negotiate, delegate and work productively in a co-operative context
  • 9. Take responsibility for your own learning
  • 10. Use appropriate technology and information sources
  • 11. Present ideas/information competently

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

  • Introduction and critical thinking
  • Anaerobic performance
  • Aerobic performance
  • Regulating exercise intensity 1
  • Regulating exercise intensity 2
  • Ventilatory control
  • Altitude physiology
  • Cardiovascular physiology
  • Skeletal muscle function
  • Aging, physical activity and disease

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching28Practical classes and seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lecture content
Guided Independent Study25Laboratory report writing
Guided Independent Study20Reading
Guided Independent Study15Ongoing engagement activities
Guided Independent Study7Seminar preparation
Guided Independent Study25Exam preparation
Guided Independent Study8Data analysis from practical classes


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Critique of a research paperGroup discussions and a summary oral presentation (group)2-4, 6-7, 11Oral
Indicative multiple choice questions30 minutes1, 3, 5Oral in small groups
Short answer planningBullet points planned answer followed by discussion3-7, 9, 11Oral in small groups

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Data analysis and data interpretation examination5075 minutes2-3, 5, 7, 9-11Written
Written examination5075 minutes1-7, 11Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Data analysis and data interpretation examination (50%) 75 minutesData analysis and data interpretation examination2-3, 5, 7, 9-11August/September Assessment Period
Written examination (50%) 75 minutesWritten examination1-7, 11August/September Assessment Period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Key text:

  • McArdle, W., Katch, F., and Katch, V. (2010). Essentials of Exercise Physiology. (4th Edition). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.

Other Texts:

  • Houston, M.E. (2006). Biochemistry Primer for Exercise Science. (3rd Edition). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
  • West, J.B. (2004). Respiratory Physiology, The Essentials. (7th Edition). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.
  • Jones, A.M. and Poole, D.C. (2004). Oxygen uptake kinetics in sport, exercise, and medicine. Routledge.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • European Journal of Applied Physiology
  • Exercise Science Reviews
  • International Journal of Sports Medicine
  • Journal of Sport Sciences
  • Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
  • Sports Medicine

Key words search

Exercise, performance, tolerance, limitations, human, aerobic, anaerobic, athletes, cardiovascular, pulmonary, altitude

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

ESS1703 Bioenergetics or ESS1007 Human Physiology

Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date