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PHSE203 Exercise Physiology

Acute and chronic responses to exercise, including limitations within and between individuals, effects of different types of exercise and environments, effects on health, and methods of analysing responses, limitations and effects.

Exercise physiology is the study of how the human body functions and responds during exercise and how it adapts to repeated exercise stress (training). This paper uses students' incoming knowledge of anatomy, physiology and basic exercise science to study acute and training responses, from the whole-body level down to responses within cells. Exercise intensity, duration and modes are considered in regard to acute responses and training adaptations, along with gender (sex), age and fitness and the purpose of exercise (especially performance or health). The effects of exercising in adverse environments (heat, cold and altitude) are also addressed.
This paper provides basic knowledge in exercise science, which is essential for exercise testing and prescription, including the design and monitoring of training programmes in sport or for health.

Paper title Exercise Physiology
Paper code PHSE203
Subject Physical Education
EFTS 0.1400
Points 18 points
Teaching period First Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $969.22
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,368.00

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HUBS 192 or PHSE 192
Suitable for students interested in the physiology or prescription of exercise.
Teaching staff
Associate Professor Jim Cotter and Associate Professor Nancy Rehrer
Paper Structure
The paper covers the following topics in relation to both acute and adaptive (fitness) responses to exercise:
  • Body composition
  • Producing, controlling and measuring force, work and power
  • Energy provision/systems
  • Cardiorespiratory function (including basis of fitness tests)
  • Hormones and immune function
  • Warm up, recovery, tapering
  • Stressful environments (heat and dehydration, altitude, cold)
Some topics are also covered in eight lab modules.
Teaching Arrangements
An informal weekly tutorial is provided, but is not compulsory.
To be advised.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Upon completing this paper students should be able to
  • Explain acute physiological responses to different durations and intensities of exercise at the level of the cell, organs or tissues and the whole body
  • Explain the likely physiological adaptations to different types of exercise training
  • Understand the effects of personal factors (e.g. age, sex) and environmental factors (e.g. heat) on exercise performance and physiological responses
  • Explain the basic principles of fitness testing and of prescribing fitness training for different forms of exercise (endurance, power, strength)

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 09:00-09:50 9-13, 15-22
Wednesday 13:00-13:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
Thursday 09:00-09:50 9-13, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
P1 Monday 09:00-10:50 10-13, 15-20
P2 Monday 14:00-15:50 10-13, 15-20
P3 Tuesday 12:00-13:50 10-13, 15-16, 18-20
P4 Tuesday 14:00-15:50 10-13, 15-16, 18-20
P5 Wednesday 09:00-10:50 10-13, 15-16, 18-21
P7 Thursday 12:00-13:50 10-13, 15-20
P8 Thursday 14:00-15:50 10-13, 15-20
P9 Monday 11:00-12:50 10-13, 15-20