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Paediatric Exercise Physiology

Module titlePaediatric Exercise Physiology
Module codeSHSM003
Academic year2019/0
Module staff

Professor Alan Barker (Convenor)

Professor Craig Williams (Lecturer)

Dr Bert Bond (Lecturer)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

Children and adolescents are not simply ‘mini-adults’. They are growing and maturing at their own rate, and consequently their physiological responses to exercise are profoundly different from adults. This module will explore the impact that growth and maturation has on physiological function and exercise performance, and equip you with the necessary skills to interpret data independent of body size and maturity. The module is suitable for both specialist and non-specialist students with a science or medical background.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to develop your understanding of the unique physiological responses of children and adolescents to exercise and your ability to discuss this in relation to age, sex and biological maturity. As young people are constantly growing and maturing at their own rate, the module will also equip you with the necessary skills to statistically control physiological data for both maturity and body size. The potential for exercise to effect growth and maturation will also be explored. The module will be underpinned from past and ongoing research in the Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre (CHERC), meaning the learning experience will not only be research-informed, but you will be challenged to act and think like researchers. You will develop the following specific skills / knowledge:

  • Detail how age, sex and maturation impacts fitnessĀ 
  • Control for performance differences due to biological maturation and size
  • Understand the risks (e.g. on growth and maturation) and benefits (e.g. fitness conditioning) of long-term trainingĀ 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

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

  • 1. Explain the physiological responses to exercise in relation to growth, maturation and sex
  • 2. Evaluate strategies to assess and interpret young people responses to exercise comprehensively and independently

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

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

  • 3. Critically analyse and evaluate research data
  • 4. Develop and present detailed evidence-based arguments

ILO: Personal and key skills

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

  • 5. Learn independently and co-operatively
  • 6. Present material for group discussion
  • 7. Digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, coherent and cogent written argument, developed through the mode of assessment

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction, rationale and considerations
  • Growth and maturation: measurement and definitions
  • Growth and maturation: effect of exercise
  • Scaling for body size
  • Aerobic fitness
  • Oxygen uptake kinetics
  • Cardiovascular function
  • Muscle metabolism
  • Muscle strength
  • Anaerobic fitness
  • Exercise training and young people
  • The young athlete: development models

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 Teaching18Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching21Seminar and practical sessions
Guided Independent Study186Preparation for weekly lecturers through reading and ELE tasks
Guided Independent Study75Coursework/exam preparation


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Written abstract350 words1-5, 7Written and oral
Oral presentation5-10 minutes1-6Written and oral

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
Research article 402500 words2-5, 7Written
Oral presentation 3015 minutes plus 5 minutes for questions1-4, 6Written
Essay question 302000 words1-5, 7Written


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

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Research article Research article 2-5, 7August/September assessment period
Oral presentation Oral presentation 1-4, 6August/September assessment period
Essay question Essay question 1-5, 7August/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 50%) you will be required to sit a further examination. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%.


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The following text books provide an excellent overview of the material covered in this module. In addition, key texts will be provided throughout the module to extend your understanding.

  • Armstrong, N. (2007). Paediatric Exercise Physiology. In Advances in Sport and Exercise Sciences Series (edited by N. Spurway and D. MacLaren). London: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
  • Armstrong, N. and Welsman, J.R. (1997). Young People and Physical Activity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Armstrong, N. and Van Mechelen, W. (2008). Paediatric Exercise Science and Medicine (2nd edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Malina, R.M., Bouchard, C. and Bar Or, O. Growth, Maturation, and Physical Activity (2nd edition). Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics.
  • Rowland, T.W. (2005). Children’s Exercise Physiology (2nd edition). Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Exercise, physical activity, training, health, fitness, performance, children

Credit value30
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date