Exploring the continuum of physical activity from children to grandmothers, we first examine the issues of physical activity and obesity from a physiological, psychological, social, political and economic perspective. How have we become a nation in which XL is the new normal? We then address lifetime fitness up close and personal, developing individual aerobic and strength training plans designed to enhance quality of life as well as prevent chronic diseases such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and osteoporosis. Finally, we focus on the elite athlete in pursuit of Olympic gold. Are we genetically predetermined to excel or is there an ideal combination of genes and environment? How can we utilize our understanding of elite performance to improve our own movement mechanics?

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to

• Appreciate the multifaceted nature of the problems and potential solutions inherent in increasing physical activity and decreasing obesity.

• Understand basic physiological adaptations in the cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal and metabolic systems resulting from training.

• Apply physiological concepts to the development of a personal fitness plan.

• Understand critical factors determining elite athletic performance.

• Improve a sport skill through the application of biomechanical principles utilized in elite performances.

Assignments include:

• Assessment will include an exam focusing on physiological adaptations associated with chronic exercise training

• A paper addressing either physical activity and obesity or elite performance

• The development of a personal fitness plan

• A quiz on fundamental principles of movement

• The filming and biomechanical analysis of a personal sport skill

• The course will include a laboratory component in which students apply theoretical concepts to the development of personal fitness and the improvement of a specific sport skill.

Readings include:

Claude Bouchard, Physical Activity and Obesity 2

MacArdle, Katch and Katch, Exercise Physiology: Nutrition, Energy and Human Performance 

American College of Sports Medicine, Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise

American College of Sports Medicine, Appropriate Physical Activity Intervention Strategies for Weight Loss and Prevention of Weight Regain for Adults