Exercise Physiology is an applied science that analyses how physical exercise modifies the function and structure of the human body and demands a diverse examination of physiologic responses to physical exercise.
How human energy is generated, transferred and expended, interaction of various body systems, including the cardiovascular, musculo-sketal, nervous, and endocrine systems, as well as environmental effects, training methods, and ergongenic aids are just some of the topics studied.
Specialising into various clinical areas, Exercise Physiologists are substantially suited to rendering professional services in fitness development and rehabilitation, disease prevention, health furtherance and functioning self-reliance.
In 1997, for the advancement of exercise physiologists, The American Society of Exercise Physiologists (ASEP), was formed that would provide a forum for collaboration among exercise physiologists. The Society would provide leadership, set standards in university curriculum and provide stimulating interaction among peers.
Through unification, the ASEP aims to further the professionalisation of exercise physiology, promote an exchange of ideas and information, implement the furtherance of academic programs that would meet the diversity of the profession, interact with associations involved in the fields of health and fitness, and increase awareness of the physiology profession. Adhering to a formal code of professional obligation the ASEP will uphold quality standards and maintain integrity among exercise physiologists.
Regardless how long energy is expended, power comes from one compound — adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The body stores this compound in a small quantity that powers only a few seconds of exercise, therefore the body needs to continually replace ATP. How the body carries out this function is the key factor to comprehending energy systems.
An ATP molecule is made up of three (tri) phosphate groups and adenosine. Combining water with the molecule (hydrolysis) causes the last phosphate group to split away, energy is released and the ATP molecule has become adenosine diphosphate or ADP.
Chemical reactions, through a process called phosphorylation, add a phosphate group back, replenishing the ATP the body stores. Aerobic metabolism is when this process happens in the presence of oxygen, the metabolism is anaerobic without oxygen present.
The maximum capacity of the body to utilise oxygen during maximum exercise is VO2 max. Expressed as millilitres per kilogramme of bodyweight per minute (ml/kg/min), VO2 max measures an individual’s aerobic capacity.
Recent studies have revealed that there is a genetic component to VO2 max. It has been demonstrated through adaptation that our beginning VO2 max and our capacity for improvement from fitness training is genetically influenced.
An adult male, for example, with a starting VO2 max of 45 ml/min/kg who optimally trains for several years can expect to see improvement and his VO2 max may climb as high as 60-65 ml/min/kg. However, professional athletes can have a VO2 max as high as 75 to 85 ml/kg and even without training for several years will only drop as low as the average male’s highest VO2 max.
After several months of exercise most persons will show a significant improvement in their VO2 max, yet studies reveal that a small group of individuals may show very little increase in their VO2 max.
Not to be confused with the “pumped up” soreness that occurs during or immediately following heavy exercise, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is a tenderness that occurs 24-48 hours after intensive exercise, ranging from a mild discomfort to debilitating pain.
There is no accepted supposition as to what causes delayed onset muscle soreness, though many theories abound. Equally numbered are the treatment claims that will bring relief but none are universally accepted, neither is a preventative measure for DOMS agreed upon.
Varying degrees of discomfort and swelling reduction has been obtained through the use of timely massage techniques, however muscle function is not affected. Clinical trials have indicated that ice baths, ultrasound, stretching, homoeopathy or electrical current treatments have no therapeutic affects on DOMS.
Though not confirmed by clinical trials and certainly not recommended to be taken in large doses, reports have indicated that Vitamin C may decrease the effects of DOMS.