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Exploring sport online: Athletes and efficient hearts

Introduction

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With the announcement of the summer Olympics coming to London in 2012, fierce competition between football clubs in the domestic league, and developments in coaching and training throughout all areas of physical fitness, there has never been a better time to learn more about sport. Many of us take for granted what we know about sport, whether we participate or spectate. But have you ever thought about delving deeper, to find out more about the sport you follow in particular and how it fits into ideas about sport more generally? This unit is the ideal place to start.

Sport and science have become increasingly interlinked in recent years. We need only to think of an Olympic team – which used to be mostly made up of athletes but now is likely to include a squad of almost equal size comprising non-athletic staff such as specialist coaches, trainers, sports psychologists and nutritionists – to realise how science is now a major part of sport. Elite athletes in all sports now spend a large amount of their training time with these types of specialist staff to ensure that their bodies and minds are prepared for competition in as scientific a manner as possible. Away from the elite level, there is also an increasing awareness of the benefits of a sound scientific basis to sport, training and even just basic health. Many ordinary people training in local sports centres and gymnasiums can name all their major muscle groups, know the training procedures needed to strengthen these muscles, and are aware of the effect on their bodies of the types of food and drink they consume.

In this unit you will look at how sport can be understood from a scientific perspective, focussing on specific details while maintaining a broad overview of the subject using examples from many different sports such as running, athletics, cycling and swimming to illustrate the different ways in which sport and science interact.

This unit is an adapted extract from Y164 Exploring sport online, a course which is no longer taught by The Open University, but which was part of our Openings Programme which has been replaced by our Access modules. This unit gives a good idea of the level of study on these modules.

If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this subject area [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

If you are new to Higher Education you may want to consider our Access module Y032 People, work and society.

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