Exercise Physiology

Exercise physiology is both a basic and an applied science that describes, explains, and uses the body’s responses to acute exercise and its adaptation to chronic training in order to maximize human physical potential. Exercise physiology attempts to understand how the basic physiological functioning of the human body is modified by short-term and long-term physical activity, as well as inactivity, and the mechanisms responsible. By studying exercise physiology, students should be better able to apply the results from scientific research in order to maximize health, rehabilitation, and/or athletic performance in a variety of populations.

Areas of Study

Students in the Exercise Physiology program in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at the University of Oklahoma have the opportunity to investigate a number of different physiological systems. The department has expertise in the areas of cardiorespiratory physiology (oxygen consumption, cardiac output, stroke volume, ventilatory threshold, lung function, peripheral arterial blood flow, etc.), neuromuscular physiology (EMG activity, force production using isometric, isokinetic, and isotonic devices, muscle size using ultrasound, etc.), bone metabolism and density (bone density by DXA, bone biomarkers), body composition (two, three, and four component models, resting metabolic rate), endocrinology (growth hormone, IGF-1, IGF-BPS Testosterone, Estrogen etc), and metabolism. A wide variety of populations have been studied, including sedentary young subjects, elite athletes, and the very old. Subjects also vary in a wide range of health status and clinical states, including normal healthy individuals, diabetics, people with osteoporosis, pregnancy, muscle wasting, peripheral arterial disease, etc.

Degrees Offered

M.S. in Health and Exercise Science
M.S. in Exercise Physiology
Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology

Careers in Exercise Physiology

Clinics, hospitals, health maintenance organizations, private physician's offices
Corporate and hospital based fitness programs
Research coordinators in academic departments, community colleges and universities

Exercise Physiology Career Resources

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