Book Review: Exercise physiology: A thematic approach


Exercise physiology: A thematic approach

By Tudor Hale.
Published by Wiley, 2003, pp 356, £100/€135.00 (hardcover).
ISBN: 978-0-470-84682-7

This publication is the first in the Wiley SportTexts series written specifically with undergraduate students in mind. This text is structured as a series of chapters that cover the basic principles associated predominantly with oxygen uptake, transport and utilisation during exercise. The written material is easy to read and well supported by figures and diagrams. Overall the text provides extensive coverage of the historical development of several key principles that may appeal to some, but perhaps not all readers. Chapters on factors limiting maximal oxygen uptake as well as exercise, fitness and health offer insight into practical application of this material. However, the presentation of these concepts as epilogue and postscript chapters gives the feeling that these issues were included as somewhat of an after thought.

With the focus of the book clearly on concepts relating to maximal oxygen uptake, the title “Exercise physiology” could mislead some readers; other key exercise physiology concepts including training principles, thermoregulation, fluid–electrolyte balance, nutritional concepts and anthropometry are obvious in their omission. It is not clear if these issues will be addressed in future books in the series.

The book offers a thorough introduction to basic principles of cardiorespiratory physiology that are easy to follow for those with little previous exposure to these concepts. The oxygen uptake, transport and utilisation story is somewhat disrupted by chapters on circulation and contraction of skeletal muscle. However, these chapters provide useful information to the student and the background to the chapters that follow. At times further discussion of the practical application of these basic concepts in an exercise physiology setting, either recreational or elite sport, would have added an extra dimension. The chapter on aerobic and anaerobic metabolism provides a useful combination of theory and examples of practical application.

Each chapter commences with a list of learning objectives, and a short objective test to allow readers to assess their existing knowledge. The list of symbols, abbreviations and units of measures is useful for readers with little experience in this field, as is the glossary and list of references. The key points summarised at the end of each chapter should appeal to students revising for examinations. One downside of the presentation is the review questions interspersed among the text distract from the logical presentation of the information. That said, these questions and their associated answers will be popular with students looking for the take home message. Overall, this text is best suited for the level of the undergraduate student.

The conversational style of the written material, as well as the readily accessible summaries and supplementary information included in each chapter, make this an ideal text for undergraduate students, particularly those with little background in human biology. The book effectively introduces key concepts relating to oxygen uptake, transport and utilisation. The practical application of these principles in a range of sports science settings should not be overlooked by the student.

A Cox
Department of Physiology
Australian Institute of Sport

Presentation 16
Comprehensiveness 14
Readability 17
Relevance 15
Evidence basis 16

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