Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"

Teaching schedule

Academic year: 
Belonging course: 
Course of Bachelor's Degree Programme on SPORTS SCIENCE
Disciplinary sector: 
Year of study: 
Second semester
Hours of front activity: 



Course description

The class will be focused on the comprehension of functional mechanisms of the human body organs and systems directly involved in the physical exercise, and their changes following a prolonged period of physical training. Particularly, at the end of the class students will be able to:
- Understand differences in the functions of organs and systems of the human body in sedentary vs. physically trained individuals (Ability of comprehension).
- Elaborate training programs to ameliorate strength or resistance of subjects, which undergo physical training (Applied Comprehension Ability).
- Discriminate between physiological and non-physiological functions in the different organs and systems of the human body (Decision-making autonomy).
- Utilize a proper scientific language for communication either to specialists or naive people, not belonging to the motor sciences working environment (Communication skills.)

- To deepen concepts of interest, by autonomously selecting the appropriate sources of information (Learning ability).


Basic concepts of human physiology, anatomy, biology, biochemistry.


1. Nutrition: the basis of physical performance. Carbohydrate, lipids and proteins. Vitamins, minerals and water. The optimal diet for individuals undergoing into physical exercise.

2. Energy reserves within the cells, ATP and phosphocreatine. Energy release from carbohydrates: anaerobic glycolysis, lactate accumulation, Cori’s cycle. Krebs’ cycle. Oxidative phosphorylation. Energy release from lipids and from proteins.

3. Promptly available energy for physical exercise, ATP and phosphocreatine. Long term energy, the aerobic system. Oxygen consumption, oxygen debt, maximal oxygen consumption during steady state performance. Type I and II muscle fibers. Oxygen consumption during recovery after exercise. Active and passive recovery.

4. Structure and function of the respiratory system. Anatomy of the respiratory system, respiratory mechanics, lung volumes and lung capacity. Lung static and dynamic volumes. Effects of physical training on lung functions. Pulmonary ventilation. Gas (O2 and CO2) transportation within the blood vessels. Gas exchange between alveoli and blood. Neural control of pulmonary ventilation. Ventilation during physical exercise. Role of the respiratory system in the regulation of blood pH.

5. Cardiovascular system. Anatomy of the heart and of the main circulation districts. Blood pressure, systolic and diastolic pressure. Intrinsic regulation of heart rate, the pacemaker activity. Sympathetic and parasympathetic control of heart rate. Control of the volume of circulating blood and its distribution in peripheral organs. Cardiac output, heart rate and systolic volume in sedentary subjects vs. athletes.

6. Skeletal muscle. Actin and myosin and their organization in sarcomeres. Regulatory proteins. Mechanisms of fiber twitch. Classification of muscle fibers. Isotonic and isometric twitches.

7. Aerobic and anaerobic capacity training. Cardiovascular, respiratory, muscle fiber adaptations to physical training.

1. Nutrition: the basis of physical performance.
2. Energy for physical exercise.
3. Structure and function of the respiratory system at rest and during physical exercise.
4. Cardiovascular system in sedentary subjects and athletes.
5. Skeletal muscle adaptations to physical exercecise.
6. Aerobic and anaerobic capacity training.

Teaching Methods

The class is performed by means of frontal lessons.


•Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition, and Human Performance (Exercise Physiology ( MC Ardle)) by McArdle BS M.Ed PhD, William D., Katch, Frank I.,
Katch, V (2006);
• Any book related to Exercise Physiology for three-years degree in Motor Science.

Learning assessment

Aim of the examination test will be to ascertain the achievement of training objectives reported above. By means of an oral test, we will ascertain the level of knowledge of the different topics, scientific language skills, the ability to comunicate concepts and to correlate different topics. The student's ability to explain scientific concepts of physiology by means of X-Y graphs and to gain additional information in published literature will be also assessed. Additionally, the student's ability to elaborate a training program aimed at improving strength of resistance performances in subjects will be also assessed.

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