Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


BIOL121 Human Biological Science 1 or BIOL124 - Human Body in Health and Disease 1 or BIOL125 Human Biology 1


EXSC198 Physiological Bases of Exercise

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

An understanding of the human body's response to exercise and adaptation to exercise training is required for the application of the science of exercise for health, fitness and sports performance. These knowledge and skills are consistent with the professional standards of several accreditation bodies, including those for Exercise Science. In this unit, human physiology is examined from this exercise science viewpoint, addressing the metabolic foundations of exercise and the regulation and responses of the physiological systems to various exercise stressors. The aim of this unit is to provide students with an understanding of the principles of exercise physiology, their integration with other sub–disciplines of exercise science, and the development of skills in conducting exercise tests and interpreting their results.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe and compare the bioenergetics of energy production and utilization (GA5, GA8)

LO2 - Describe the function, regulation and interaction of physiological systems relating to exercise (GA5)

LO3 - Describe the individual and integrated physiological responses and adaptations to acute exercise (GA5)

LO4 - Operate, calibrate and measure work/power and physiological responses on different ergometers (GA5, GA8)

LO5 - Perform and interpret exercise tests (GA5, GA8, GA9)

Graduate attributes

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • Energy expenditure and oxygen consumption 
  • Enzymes, bioenergetics and metabolic pathways in muscle physiology 
  • Respiratory regulation during exercise 
  • Cardiovascular regulation during exercise 
  • Physiological (acute) responses to aerobic and anerobic exercise 
  • Health screening/risk stratification 
  • Ergometry, calibration, measurement of work and power, and units of measure 
  • Exercise testing of energy expenditure, oxygen consumption and aerobic power  
  • Exercise testing of anaerobic power

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategies of this unit are designed to allow students to meet the aims, learning outcomes of the unit, graduate attributes of the University and professional accreditation standards. They are intended to reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to engage actively with unit content and learning activities.

This unit uses an experiential, cooperative learning approach to actively engage students in weekly group-based laboratory projects that reinforce theoretical content. Laboratory sessions will be complemented with face to face and web-based learning activities focused on further developing student depth of understanding of the physiological processes related to exercise in healthy, clinical and athletic populations. Weekly laboratories are designed to develop skills required for Exercise Science accreditation and are assessed via a hurdle task.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used including: an essay task to assess understanding of unit content and academic writing; an examination to assess student learning of unit content; a laboratory report to assess application of this learning; and a practical skills test to assess competency in skills required for professional practice (hurdle task).

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Essay task  

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of unit content, supported by evidence-based sources. 


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA5, GA8

Laboratory report 

Enables students to demonstrate their application of knowledge and skills by conducting and interpreting exercise tests and communicating outcomes.


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA5, GA8, GA9

Final examination 

Enables students to demonstrate their understanding of unit content.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO5

GA5, GA8, GA9

Competency practical skills test 

Enables students to demonstrate competency in skills required for professional practice.



GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) (2013). Health-Related Physical Fitness Assessment Manual (4th ed.) Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins 

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) (2014). Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (9th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams.

Australian Institute of SportTanner R and Gore C (2013) Physiological tests for elite athletes (2nd ed.). Champaign: Human Kinetics.

Coombes and Skinner (2014). ESSA student manual for health, exercise and sport assessment. Mosby and ESSA.

McArdle, W.D., Katch, F.I., & Katch, V.L. (2014). Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition and Human Performance (8th ed.). Baltimore: Lippincott William and Wilkins.

Nieman, D.C. (2007). Exercise Testing and Prescription: A Health Related Approach (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

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