Module code: BMS2063

Module Overview

This module builds on your knowledge gained in year 1 of the physical, chemical and biochemical properties of cells (BMS1050) and principles of physiology (BMS1032) to explore how the body responds and adapts to exercise.

The module considers the organisation, regulation, adjustment and integration of physiological systems (and biochemical processes) as they apply to different exercise modalities, intensities and populations. Real world examples and contemporary topics are explored to engage and motivate.  

Laboratory sessions will aid your understanding of the theory and enable development of practical and employability skills.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

HUNT Julie (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 5

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 86

Lecture Hours: 11

Tutorial Hours: 11

Practical/Performance Hours: 10

Guided Learning: 12

Captured Content: 20

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Gastrointestinal tract; digestion and absorption

  • Energy expenditure and its measurement

  • Anaerobic & aerobic metabolism

  • Skeletal muscle protein metabolism

  • Exercise intensity domains

  • The cardiorespiratory system; control and response to exercise

  • Muscle function, strength and power

  • Hormonal response to exercise

  • Introduction to molecular exercise physiology

  • The immune response to exercise

  • Exercise modification of the gut microbiota

  • Aging physiology

  • Women’s health / female athlete

  • Contemporary topics (Long COVID, fasting, transgender athletes)

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework Practical Lab Skills Test & Report 50
Examination Online Examination (4 hours) 50

Alternative Assessment

Where practical lab sessions have been missed or reports failed, students will be provided with a new data set to interpret, analyse and report findings. In the event that a student is unable to take part in the group-based Practical Lab Skills Test, they will have the opportunity to take an individual practical assessment and report.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have achieved the modules learning outcomes and, by association, developed employability skills, digital capabilities and resourcefulness and resilience among other module attributes.


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A group-based Practical Lab Skills Test & Report (50%), which is connected to learning outcomes 4 - 8. Working as a team of physiologists students are challenged to i) conduct an incremental exercise test with an external client under a time constraint, before ii) analysing, interpreting and presenting the results in a brief (2-page) report. Students’ employability is enhanced by assuming the professional role of a physiologist in a commercial lab, collecting and interpreting data to make recommendations to the athlete and coach. Students are encouraged to meet professional standards regarding H&S, participant care, and technical (gas analysis, blood sampling, data analysis) and transferable skills (communication, team work). Students will need to exhibit resourcefulness and resilience in their approach. Marks are based on performance in part i and ii, and contain an element of peer assessment. This assessment builds on practical and instructing experience gained previously (BMS1032 and BMS1044) by incorporating a team-work element. It helps to prepare students for the assessments in BMS2066 and BMS3085, and provides essential skills to conduct physiology based research projects (BMS3076).


  • An Open Book Exam containing MCQ [40 minute time constraint] and essay questions [no time limit] within a 4 hour window (50%), which is connected to learning outcomes 1 – 3, 5 & 7.  The exam is designed to assess your knowledge and understanding of topics covered in exercise physiology and biochemistry.  The MCQ section will test students’ ability to demonstrate what they know in a timed situation and require them to remember key facts, while the essay component requires more concept understanding, which encourages deeper learning. Students can refer to resources during the exam so it tests their ability to find information and critically engage with the literature, and in doing so prepares them for ‘real life’ experiences.


Formative assessment:

  • A ‘Practice’ Practical Lab Skills Test. Each group will have 2 hours allocated in the lab (in weeks 8 or 9) to practice for the skills test (in weeks 10 or 11). Students can use this time as they wish but are encouraged to treat it as a dress rehearsal for their practical assessment. Groups will be observed during the practice and will receive peer-marking and verbal feedback from lecturers/lab demonstrators. The formative nature of this assessment enables key practical and transferable skills to be developed in a supportive context, which can ‘feed forward’ to the summative assessment in this module and others in the programme (BMS2066, BMS3085). The opportunity for peer-assessment encourages students to fully engage with the marking criteria, reflect on their performance and that of their peers, and develop as independent learners.


  • Weekly MCQ tests and practice essay questions are provided on SureyLearn to enhance student learning in the way described earlier.



  • Prior to the assessments, time will be spent discussing the assignment and feedback process. The marking scheme will be specified, expectations discussed and examples of excellent practice provided for students to make comparisons. This facilitates self-efficacy.

  • Immediately following the Practical Lab Skills Test students will be asked to reflect on their group performance and generic feedback (without mark allocation) will be verbally provided by the examiner.

  • Feedback on Practical Lab Skills Test & Report (written feedback on the report and practical exam and one-to-one feedback, as requested.

  • Feedback on final exam (written feedback on exam scripts, one-to-one feedback, as requested, with generic one-line feedback)

Module aims

  • To develop knowledge on digestion, absorption and metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins
  • To develop an intergraded understanding of the physiological responses and biochemical processes during exercise.
  • To develop a critical awareness of the variation of physiological responses in relation to different exercise modalities, intensities and participant populations.
  • To provide an introduction to molecular processes and signal transduction in relation to exercise.
  • To advance practical laboratory skills for assessment of physiological responses and biochemical processes during exercise.
  • To develop transferable skills in communication, leadership and teamwork

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
005 Examine submaximal and maximal anaerobic and aerobic performance. CP
006 Assess the variation of physiological responses in relation to exercise modality, intensity and participant population KCP
007 Analyse and interpret data collected from experimental work KCPT
008 Appraise the research literature and evaluate experimental methods KC
009 Work productivity both independently and collaboratively as a team in a laboratory setting CPT
004 Demonstrate an understanding of how the body adapts to exercise by recognizing key signal transduction pathways and gene regulatory mechanisms responsible for adaptation of the (muscle) cell, and identifying the impact this has on whole body function and structure KC
002 Explain the anabolic and catabolic processes that take place during exercise and recovery K
003 Describe the regulation, adjustment and integration of physiological responses during exercise K
001 Describe the structure of the gastrointestinal tract and explain the digestion and absorption of dietary carbohydrates, lipids and proteins K

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to ensure that students achieve the modules learning outcomes and develop competencies in the corresponding aspects of the curriculum framework (employability, digital capabilities, global and cultural intelligence, sustainability, resourcefulness and resilience). 


Students will begin to integrate what they have learnt in previous modules, using their prior knowledge on the physical and biochemical properties of cells (BMS1050) and principles of physiology (BMS1032) to explore how the body responds and adapts to exercise. Students will discover how important exercise is across the lifespan to optimise health, perform better and live sustainably. They will consider the physiological attributes of elite athletes and desirable training adaptations to improve performance, which will prepare students for BMS2066 in semester 2. 


Students have access to pre-recorded short videos (and PDF slides) summarising the learning outcomes and subject content of the week, in advance of the weekly live sessions. This captured content helps to develop basic knowledge and understanding of concepts in exercise physiology, which students then go onto review in the live sessions. Students are expected to engage with weekly captured content and prepare for live sessions to facilitate the ‘flipped learning’ experience.


The live sessions comprise of tutorials and practicals, and are reserved for active student learning to enhance understanding. Tutorials include interactive tasks such as, reviewing literature, discussing case studies, performing quizzes. They provide an opportunity for students to i) review their knowledge on a topic, ii) apply that knowledge to a new problem (scenarios, case studies) and gain feedback on their understanding. Practical sessions provide students with an opportunity to put their knowledge into practice, and develop key technical and transferable (team-work, professionalism, communication) skills in exercise physiology, preparing them for the world of work. Students are encouraged to be active participants in tutorial and practical sessions, and support one-another in the process, and in doing so develop as informed, confident, collaborative and independent learners.


There is also weekly guided learning / directed study in the form of recommend reading, MCQ tests, practice essay questions, concept maps/infographic design. These may be set before (as a preparation task) or after live sessions to support the development of student skills and understanding, and provide opportunity for formative feedback (e.g. feedback from learning activities; peer feedback; opportunities for self-assessment, etc).


Student participation is encouraged through the use of discussion boards, with regular opportunity for interaction with peers and academics at weekly tutorials and/or practicals. Students are invited to contribute to discussions from their own background and experiences, and are encouraged to be actively involved in problem solving, thus developing their own judgement and opinions. Students who activity participate in the module activities will be successful in undertaking the assessments.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS2063

Other information

Employability: This module provides students with working knowledge of key tools used by physiologists in practice and in research. During practical sessions students will be introduced to various equipment utilised by performance, clinical and research physiologists. The activities set  emulating real-life practice in a commercial physiology lab, with students working in groups to collect, analyse, interpret and present findings on individuals. Students are expected to meet professional standards (H&S, participant care, technical [gas analysis, blood sampling] and transferable [communication, team work] professional skills etc) and implement problem-solving skills, preparing them for the world of work. Students are encouraged to participate in practical sessions and experience it from the different roles of a ‘physiologist’ and ‘athlete’. This first-hand experience allows students to practice advising others (taking on responsibility, building trust and repour with athletes) and gain empathy with the athlete (understand what it feels like to complete an exercise test). These are priority professional skills.


Digital Capabilities: As with all modules, students are expected to engage with online material and resources via SurreyLearn, and other digital platforms. Following a flipped classroom approach, students are advised to view digital learning material in advance of tutorials. Students are encouraged to communicate with one another and work together in groups, utilising collaborative tools (WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, Zoom) - this is especially important in preparation for the Practical Skills Test & Report. Students will create excel spreadsheets to perform calculations on data collected in practical sessions and present results visually using a software of their choosing.


Global and Cultural Capabilities: Exercise physiologists work internationally and in culturally diverse environments across a spectrum of sports performance, health and disease management. Gaining cultural awareness is therefore essential.  Students will work together in groups and perform problem-solving and decision-making tasks during tutorial and practical sessions. This provides an opportunity to interact, communicate and build relationships with people from different backgrounds. Students are encouraged to share experiences and knowledge from their own culture and backgrounds when case study topics are explored (Effects of Fasting on Physical Performance, e.g. Ramadan). Finally, students will work in randomly assigned groups and with external clients for the assessment. This will require students to engage effectively with people from different backgrounds in ways that respect the interests of cultural groups and individual right. Peer assessment will encourage students to value and recognise the contribution of each team member.


Sustainability: In this module students will study the importance of physical activity and exercise across the lifespan in relation to health and performance physiology. This relates to Goal 3 of the United Nations SDG (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages). In BMS1044 students considered the epidemiological data regarding the relationship between physical inactivity / low fitness and non-communicable disease. This module helps students to recognise why this relationship exists, by learning the physiological benefits of exercise and how this leads to improved fitness and performance. Students will develop an understanding of how the body functions when it is healthy before considering the pathophysiology of chronic diseases (BMS2050). Students will gain a foundation of knowledge and skills to perform exercise testing and interpretation in healthy individuals, before working with chronic disease (BMS3085) populations.


Resourcefulness and Resilience: The learning, teaching and assessment strategy for this module has been designed to encourage active participation, peer support and reflective engagement. In practical sessions students will work in small groups to strengthen the student / demonstrator relationship, build trust and enable dialogue about feedback. Students will draw upon individual and collective resourcefulness and develop a problem-solving mindset as they risk assess, adapt and respond to challenges faced during exercise tests. Students will experience both the ‘athlete/participant/client’ and the ‘Physiologist’ perspective, helping to develop a deeper awareness of the exercise testing environment and the need to support each other. Students are encouraged to self-evaluate and reflect on their own performance and that of their peers. Formative assessments and feedback practices provide an opportunity for students to fail and learn from the experience, building confidence and self-efficacy. Formative and summative assessments are designed to ‘feed forward’ to assessments within this module and to future modules in the programme (BMS2066, BMS3085).

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.