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Study information

Paediatric Exercise Physiology

Module titlePaediatric Exercise Physiology
Module codeSHSM003
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Professor Alan Barker (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Children and adolescents are not simply ‘mini-adults’. They are growing and maturing at their own rate, and consequently their physiological responses to exercise are profoundly different from adults. This module will explore the impact that growth and maturation have on physiological function and exercise performance, and equip you with the necessary skills to interpret data independent of body size and maturity status. The benefits (e.g. improved physical fitness) and risks (e.g. overtraining, injury) of exercise training will be explored in the context of the youth athlete. The module is suitable for both specialist and non-specialist students with a science or medical background.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The aim of this module is to develop your understanding of the unique physiological responses of children and adolescents to exercise and your ability to discuss this in relation to age, sex, growth, and biological maturity.  The module will be underpinned from past and ongoing research in the Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre (CHERC), meaning the learning experience will not only be research-informed, but you will be challenged to act and think like researchers. You will develop the following specific skills / knowledge:

  • Detail how age, sex, body size and maturation impact fitness 
  • Control for performance differences due to biological maturation and body size
  • Understand the risks (e.g. overtraining, injury) and benefits (e.g. fitness conditioning) of long-term training 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain the physiological responses to exercise in relation to growth, maturation and sex
  • 2. Evaluate the benefits and risks of young people’s participation in exercise training

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Critically analyse and evaluate research data
  • 4. Develop and present detailed evidence-based arguments

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Learn independently
  • 6. Present material for discussion
  • 7. Digest, select and organise material to produce, to a deadline, coherent and cogent written argument, developed through the mode of assessment

Syllabus plan

Indicative content and structure includes:

  • Introduction, rationale and considerations
  • Growth and maturation: measurement and definitions
  • Growth and maturation: effect of exercise
  • Scaling for body size
  • Aerobic fitness
  • Anaerobic fitness
  • Cardiovascular function
  • Muscle strength
  • Exercise training
  • Overtraining
  • Injury
  • Development of the youth athlete

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures
Scheduled Learning and Teaching18Seminar and practical sessions
Guided Independent Study185Preparation for weekly lecturers through reading and ELE tasks
Guided Independent Study75Coursework/exam preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Critical essay1,250 words1-5, 7Written and verbal
Oral presentation20 minute tutorial 5-10 minutes1-4, 6Written and verbal

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Oral presentation4020 minutes plus 5 minutes questions1-4, 6Written
Essay question302,000 words1-5, 7Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Oral presentationOral presentation1-4, 6August/September assessment period
Essay questionEssay question1-5, 7August/September assessment period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to sit a further examination. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The following text books provide an excellent overview of the material covered in this module. In addition, key texts will be provided throughout the module to extend your understanding.

  • Armstrong, N. (2007). Paediatric Exercise Physiology. In Advances in Sport and Exercise Sciences Series (edited by N. Spurway and D. MacLaren). London: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.
  • Armstrong, N. and Van Mechelen, W. (2023). Oxford Textbook of Children’s Sport and Exercise Medicine(4th edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Malina, R.M., Bouchard, C. and Bar Or, O. Growth, Maturation, and Physical Activity (2nd edition). Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics.
  • Rowland, T.W. (2005). Children’s Exercise Physiology (2nd edition). Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Exercise, physical activity, training, health, fitness, performance, children

Credit value30
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date