Sport and Exercise Science and Health

Book chapter


Mileva, K. and Zaidell, L. (2022). Sport and Exercise Science and Health. in: Wills, J. (ed.) Health Studies: an Introduction Springer Nature. pp. 84-124
AuthorsMileva, K. and Zaidell, L.
EditorsWills, J.
Abstract

Sport and Exercise Science is a scientific discipline that considers the theoretical principles of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, biochemistry, nutrition and psychology. Sport and Exercise Science contributes to the study of health by providing knowledge of the mechanisms underpinning the body’s functional and structural responses to physical activity and sport. Using rigorous experimental, observational and scientific modelling methods, it seeks to explain how exercise can improve human health and performance. Investigations in the field of Sport and Exercise Science collect data through controlled laboratory-based measurements and field studies of human movement and behaviour to improve understanding of the physiological adaptations to physical activity and exercise from the cellular to the whole body level. Sport and Exercise Science also researches the benefits from participation in exercise and sports for improved mobility, physical and mental health, and community development.

Within Sport and Exercise Science, physical activity and exercise can be viewed not only as a training stimulus that produces enhanced physical abilities through short- and long-term functional and structural improvements, but also as a physiological stressor that perturbs biological homeostasis. The integrated processes of exercise can serve as a model for understanding the challenges the body experiences in ill-health and disease. For example, exercise can cause muscle damage, inflammation and tissue hypoxia, and taxes bodily systems such as the cardiac and respiratory systems. Exercise stress also modulates metabolic processes such as glucose uptake, lipid mobilisation, blood flow and vascular mechanics, which can be studied to understand how to improve digestive and musculoskeletal health and prevent disease. In healthy individuals, strenuous physical activity and exercise can cause a transient sensation of fatigue, which may adversely impact sporting performance, activities of daily living and mental health.

Analysis of human movement as the main subject of study in Sport and Exercise Science can aid the diagnosis of neuro-motor, cardiorespiratory, metabolic and mental health disorders. The study of exercise performance in extreme environments (e.g. cold and hot climates; altitude; microgravity) can assess and expand the limits of human performance. Lessons learned from Sport and Exercise Science’s investigations contribute to the development of exercise protocols, as well as monitoring and training technologies that aim to reduce fatigue, prevent and rehabilitate injury and systemic disorders, identify sporting talent, maximise athletic performance and facilitate recovery. Knowledge of the benefits of exercise for the general public underpins the notion that ‘exercise is medicine’.

Sport and Exercise Science is concerned with sport, an activity involving physical exertion and skill, in which an individual or a team competes against another or others for exercise and entertainment. Sport and Exercise Science is also concerned with physical activity, defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure and including activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, travelling and engaging in recreational pursuits. It is also concerned with exercise, which represents any planned, structured or repetitive physical activity performed with the aim to improve or maintain physical fitness and health.

Part 1 of this chapter describes the major physiological systems that support human body movement during physical activity and examines why exercise is recommended for the improvement of general health. Part 2 outlines the current approaches used by Sport and Exercise Science to measure, assess and affect human function in order to design and deliver effective programmes for rehabilitation, exercise prescription and promotion. The chapter concludes with a case study focusing on the contribution of Sport and Exercise Science, from a physiological perspective, to the treatment and management of obesity.

Page range84-124
Year2022
Book titleHealth Studies: an Introduction
PublisherSpringer Nature
File
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File Access Level
Open
Edition4th
ISBN978-981-16-2148-2
Publication dates
Print23 Mar 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited27 Apr 2022
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-2149-9_4
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