Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit is separated into concepts relating to the response of physiology systems to exercise and the responses to exercise at a cellular level. Topics covered in terms of systems physiology include pulmonary ventilation and the lungs, ventilatory response and regulation during exercise, gas exchange and transport, effects of exercise on oxygen dissociation and carbon dioxide transport, electrocardiography, determinants of cardiac output, the vascular response to exercise, exercise and thermoregulation, blood pressure and circulatory control, control of blood flow distribution during exercise, cardiorespiratory control during exercise and limitations to exercise performance. The cellular physiology and biochemistry part of the unit includes the topics of energy transfer in exercise, structure and functions of fats, carbohydrates, creatine phosphate and proteins, the chemistry of fuel oxidation, oxidation of carbohydrate, fat, oxidative phosphorylation and ATP production during exercise. Other topics include anaerobic ATP production during exercise, structures and functions of muscle fibre types, fuel utilisation during exercise, integrated fuel metabolism in exercise, molecular mechanisms of fatigue, water balance during exercise and effect on performance, post-exercise recovery of fuel and water balance, and an introduction to sports nutrition.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) describe the structure and understand the functions of macronutrients; (2) describe the three main energy systems; (3) assess aerobic and anaerobic fitness using a series of cycle tests; (4) describe recruitment of muscle fibres during exercise; (5) describe the function of the respiratory system as well as the different lung volumes and capacities; (6) use a spirometer to assess lung capacities and to interpret the results; (7) describe the function of the cardiovascular system; (8) describe the function of the cardiovascular system; (9) assess heart function using a 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG); and (10) describe the effects of heat.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a practical assessment; (2) mid-semester test; and (3) end-of-semester examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Karen Wallman
Unit rules
Approved quota: 250—students enrolled in the Sport Science major and the Exercise and Health major to be admitted first.
Contact hours
lectures: 3 hours per week
labs: 2 hours per fortnight
practical sessions: 1 hour per week

McArdle, W. D. et al. Essentials of Exercise Physiology, 3rd edn: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins 2006

  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.