Sports Science (P.E.)

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The area of sports science - a scientific extension of physical education - applies scientific methodologies to the study of human athletic performance, with the goal of better understanding both its limitations and full potential. The path of this improved understanding follows the analysis of the biological, chemical, mechanical, physiological, psychological, motor control, and biomechanical components of human athletics. Sports science research also examines the relationship between athletic performance and nutritional and dietetic effects. Sports technology, anthropometry, kinanthropometry, and performance analysis are also part of this rapidly growing field.

A course in sports science will cover the following topics:

  • Energy metabolism
  • Physiology of exercise
  • Systemic exercise
  • Individual assessment of the aerobic-anaerobic transition by measurements of blood lactate
  • Exercise for successful aging
  • Effects of air pollutants on exercise
  • Free radicals and antioxidants in exercise and sports
  • Body composition in sports: measurement and applications for weight loss and gain
  • Exercise science and the child athlete
  • Chronobiology and physical performance
  • Ergogenic aids for improved performance
  • Physical exercise in hot and cold climates
  • Exercise-induced muscle injury and inflammation
  • Fluids and electrolytes during exercise
  • Growth, maturation, and performance
  • The effects of hypo- and hyperbaria on performance
  • Effects of microgravity on exercise performance
  • Enhancing exercise performance: nutritional implications
  • Overtraining and overreaching: causes, effects, and prevention
  • Periodization of training
  • Sports biomechanics
  • Applied sports physiology


Students should be sure to take advantage of the highest quality sports science educational materials available, starting with Designing Your Life, made available by MIT's Open Courseware. Excellent books on the subject can be found on Google Books and Amazon.com. Students should also be following the specialized journals in this field, including Asist Group's Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, Informaworld's Journal of Sports Sciences, Will Hopkins' Sportscience, Simon Jenkins' International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, and World Academic Union's International Journal of Sports Science and Engineering. Students can also use the Directory of Open Access Journals, which lists about 40 journals from around the world devoted to this subject.

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