Lesson 10: Basic Principles of Sports Physiology (Part 1 of 7)

1. Adaptation

2. Endurance

3. Strength

4. Flexibility

5. Speed

6. Coordination

Processes of adaptation through physical activity 

Every life form has the capability of adapting itself to different environmental conditions (stimuli).

“Adaptation is the most universal and most important law of life.”

(Weineck 2000)

The subject of biological adaptations in sports refers to those changes in organs and functional systems which are developed as a result of athletic activities for optimal functioning. Generally, this refers to muscular endurance or strength. As it relates to sports, adaptability is understood to be trainability, which is the athlete’s ability to respond (adapt) to stimuli (physical training)ii. (Weineck 2000) I cannot find this reference so used http://cms.nortia.org/Org/Org180/Content/10%20Key%20Factors/Trainability.asp

Physical training is defined here as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that result in energy expenditure.” (Caspersen et al 1985).  Assisted by homeostatic mechanisms (a state of equilibrium or balance), the body reacts to the demands placed on it by attempting to restore that equilibrium. The relevant homeostasis mechanisms in play for physical training are the endocrine and autonomic nervous systems. Both of these are regulated by the hypothalamus, the portion of the brain that is the link between the endocrine and nervous systems

As soon as a load (exercise) is placed on the organism (the body), the production of cellular wastes such as carbon dioxide and lactic acids increases. In response, your heart rate increases, which helps deliver oxygen and nutrients while removing the cellular waste, leading to homeostasis. For example, the total amount of blood in your body doesn’t change during exercise because the body redistributes blood flow. For example, this higher heart rate increases delivery of blood to the musculoskeletal system and skin, while decreasing blood flow to the nervous system. It’s important to note that the active musculoskeletal system is in service of movement; the fasciae, tendons, tendon sheaths and bursas, while the passive musculoskeletal system is the supporting apparatus; bones, cartilage, joints, spinal discs and ligaments.

The moment that we switch from a state of rest to a state of motion, the functions of the endocrine and nervous systems change to accommodate the new demands being placed on the musculature. The more we are physically active/train, the more effective these adaptive processes become, also in regards to the recovery phase. (Ahonen et al. Sports Medicine and Training Instruction, 1987).

Functional adaptations are those innate (not learned) functions that help an organism survive. Functional adaptations to exercise are the body’s physiological changes in reaction to the load being placed on it, The body reacts by increasing its ability to function and cope with the increased load, which leads to an improvement in performance capacity (biopositive adaptation). The reverse functional adaptation can also occur if there is excessive strain, such as an overly intensive workout, which can lead to a bionegative adaptation (decrease in function). In order to avoid this negative adaptation,  the exercise overload should not overburden the slower-adapting passive musculoskeletal system

The principle of supercompensation in training instruction states that after a training load has been applied to it, the body is not only capable of recovering its original level of performance, but that during the process of regeneration it can also exceed previous levels of performance.