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Supporting female performance in sport and fitness
Supporting female performance in sport and fitness

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9 Summary of Session 1

You now have an understanding that females have been underrepresented in both sport and medical research due to a range of factors, including the perception that the female menstrual cycle adds a layer of complexity to the research. Male orientated research findings applied to the design of training and nutritional strategies for females are never a perfect fit because they ignore so many factors.

The remaining seven sessions of this course explore what we have considered to be the most important topic areas for you to expand and develop your knowledge and skills in supporting female performance and participation in sport and exercise.

The main learning points of this first session are:

  • Only around 6% of research studies in sport science is conducted specifically using female subjects.
  • The shortage of research using female subjects impacts on their health and safety as females are more at risk of joint injuries and their reproductive function can be impacted by their nutritional status.
  • The presence of the menstrual cycle in females is often viewed as a complication in research as it can impact on reliability of data, as well as making it more costly and time consuming.
  • There are significant differences in male and female physiology that need to be considered to enable females to exercise safely and optimise their performance.
  • Males and females experience puberty differently as testosterone makes males stronger and faster while oestrogen prepares females for childbearing.
  • Changes in females that happen at puberty can make them more susceptible to dropping out of sport.
  • Medical research that uses predominantly male subjects can be dangerous to female health as females can produce different responses to treatments and medicines.

In the next session, you will explore the menstrual cycle and how changes in hormones can affect females and their performance in sport and exercise.

You can now go to Session 2 [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .