Human and exercise physiology

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The purpose of this course is to explain the basic physiology of the different human organs, such as the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal systems, highlighting both, the functioning of the singular organs and the reciprocal influences. Homeostatic and integrative controls will be also faced at rest and as a response to physical exercise administration.
Expected learning outcomes
The student will develop expertise on the methodological assessments of physiological parameters and will understand the integrated physiological responses implicated in the homeostasis of the human model, especially during physical activity and sports.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Lessons will take place on Microsoft Teams in synchronous mode, at established times, and will be recorded and available on the platform itself in asynchronous mode. Information on how to access Microsoft Teams lessons and other instructional instructions will be uploaded to the course's ARIEL website: it is recommended to consult it regularly. In the event that, taking into account the evolution of the epidemic and compliance with the relevant regulations, it should be possible to carry out activities in the classroom, students will be promptly informed via ARIEL. In any case, the lessons will be recorded and available online.
Course syllabus
- Cardiac anatomy and physiology.
- Circulatory anatomy and physiology.
- Pulmonary anatomy and physiology: gas exchange, lungs mechanics, lung-thorax system.
- Renal physiology.
- Gastrointestinal physiology.
- Cardiovascular system control and regulation.
- Control of respiration and acid-base equilibrium.
- Sources of energy and biochemistry of muscle contraction: aerobic, anaerobic alactic acid, and lactic acid processes. Training-induced changes in muscle. Fuel of choice and muscle work. Control of substrate consumption during exercise. Indirect calorimetry and respiratory quotient at rest and under stress. Resting metabolism and calories of foods. Energy balance. Physiology of hydration.
- Anaerobic lactic acid metabolism and physical exercise. Lactate shuttle. Concept and physiology of anaerobic threshold. Methods for estimating anaerobic threshold. Ventilatory threshold. Lactate curve during exercise. Concepts of onset of blood lactate accumulation (OBLA) and maximal lactate steady state (MLSS). Mader test; Conconi test; anaerobic metabolism and alactic acid; Margaria test; Mongoni test; Wingate test
- Fick equation applied to the heart-lung-muscle complex at rest and during submaximum and maximum exercise. Respiratory and cardiocirculatory changes during isotonic and isometric submaximum and maximum exercise; training-induced cardiocirculatory changes. Models for studying oxygen consumption
- Cardiopulmonary testing: rest-exercise and exercise-rest transients (changes in oxygen consumption and pulmonary ventilation, heart rate, stroke volume, and cardiac output, arteriovenous oxygen difference in exercise; excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC); oxidative processes and steady state. Maximum oxygen consumption: definition, meaning, measurement, value in sedentary adults and athletes in various types of sports according to age and sex
- Heart rate: definition and physiology: autonomic control of the cardiovascular system. Adaptation of heart rate to work load and threshold testing based on heart rate. ECG and heart rate at rest and under stress. Cardiac adaption to training: athletes, sedentary adults, young people, the elderly, males, females. Measurement of heart rate: heart rate sensors
- Arterial blood pressure: definition and physiology. Method of measuring arterial pressure. Sphygmic wave and its variation during exercise. Physiology of pressure control and variation in pressure indices during isotonic and isometric exercise. Arterial baroreflex at rest and during exercise. Measurement of arterial pressure and variation in response to training
- Thermoregulation. Regulation of body temperature, thermogenesis, and thermodispersion; conduction, convection, radiation, and evaporation. Physiology of reaction to warm and cold environments during physical exercise. Thermoregulation during exercise. Thermodispersion during exercise in children. Physical exercise and humidity
- Neuroendocrine control in physical exercise. The autonomous nervous system and its function during physical exercise. Stress hormones: adrenalin, cortisol. Glucose regulation during exercise: insulin and glucagon. Response of GH, testosterone, and thyroid hormones to physical exercise
- Exercise physiology in extreme environments. Physiology of deep diving: diving in apnea and on scuba. Physiology of exposure to high altitude: ventilatory and cardiocirculatory response; blood composition and maximum aerobic potential at high altitude. Physiology of exposure to microgravity: effects on the cardiorespiratory system and work capacity
- Pathophysiology of physical and mental disability. Physical exercise in rehabilitation and training of persons with disability. The wheelchair and physical exercise: sports therapy. Mental disability and physical exercise.
Prerequisites for admission
The following pre-requisite are mandatory: Human anatomy, cell physiology, blood, neurophysiology, muscle physiology, motor control and endorine system.
Teaching methods
Frontal lectures in the classroom and workshop exercises, with attention to understanding organ physiology at rest and the adaptations of many physiological parameters (oxygen consumption, heart rate, lactate production, etc.) to exercise.
Attendance is mandatory and additional teaching material will be added to ARIEL.
Teaching Resources
- D'Antona et al., Attività fisica. Fisiologia, adattamento all'esercizio, prevenzione, sport-terapia e nutrizione. Poletto Editore.
- Rhoades e Tanner, Fisiologia Medica, EdiSES
- McArdle, Katch, Katch. Fisiologia dell'esercizio: l'essenziale. Piccin.
- Laboratory handbook on ARIEL
Assessment methods and Criteria
Mandatory interview on the topics covered in the frontal lectures (see Programme)
The final grade (30/30 max) is the weighted average of the grades for the two parts (Human Physiology and Exercise Physiology).
BIO/09 - PHYSIOLOGY - University credits: 9
Practicals: 24 hours
Lessons: 49 hours
By appointment
Via Antonio Kramer 4/A - 20129 Milano or Via Giuseppe Colombo 71, (Building #2) - 20133 Milano