Establishing Common Course Objectives for Undergraduate Exercise Physiology

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Undergraduate exercise physiology is a ubiquitous course in undergraduate kinesiology/exercise science programs with a broad scope and depth of topics. It is valuable to explore what is taught within this course. The purpose of the present study was to facilitate an understanding of what instructors teach in undergraduate exercise physiology, how it compares with various guidelines, and to continue the conversation regarding what should be taught. A survey was created using course outcomes from the American Society of Exercise Physiologists, National Association for Sport and Physical Education, Ivy’s 2007 Quest article, the National Athletic Training Association, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and 36 undergraduate exercise physiology course syllabi. The 134-item survey was disseminated to individuals who use exercise physiology: university faculty members, clinical exercise physiologists, researchers, and other practitioners on various exercise physiology lists; 2,009 surveys were sent, and 322 surveys were completed (16% rate of return). There was a high degree of agreement about a lot of important content in undergraduate exercise physiology. Instructors of exercise physiology should focus their curriculum on regulation and homeostasis (including adaptation, fatigue, and recovery), aerobic systems, bioenergetics, muscle physiology, and fitness principles. In addition, attention should be paid to performance and technical skills. In conclusion, it is up to exercise physiologists to ensure quality of knowledge and practice. Doing so will improve the uniformity and quality of practitioners within the various kinesiology/ exercise science fields and increase the value of a Kinesiology/ Exercise Science degree and set it apart from other healthcare providers and fitness professionals.