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Physiology and Fitness

This fitness course educates you on your body and its response to a variety of exercises. It includes 12 workouts designed by a renowned fitness expert to achieve results.
Physiology and Fitness is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 58.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Presentation I am in search of cure for Michael Jackson disease(skin pigmentation),, his presentation is brilliant . I would prefer an exercise regiment that realign herniated disk
Date published: 2024-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from lecture on the bones He is very detailed and comprehensive! enjoy his lectures. It is of great value Shalom
Date published: 2024-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply a wealth of healthy information Mr. Hodgkin covers it all, there is something for everyone. His knowledge and positive attitude keeps you in the game. If this were in written form, it would be an underlined, notes written in columns, dogeared book you keep handy.
Date published: 2024-02-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Incorrect Information I found the first lessons informative and helpful. However, when the instructor stated that blood in your veins is blue, it made me question his credentials and all the other information.
Date published: 2022-10-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Every thing looks great I just don’t know how to use on my IPhone Please Help thanks Neil
Date published: 2022-09-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the right prescription for me. I think this course my fit me better as a 49 year old man , it allowed me to see where my adjustments needed to be made ...core problems with out stressing your self , it was strange the trainer mentioned something my mother told me a long time , I like the medicine ball part now when I get up in the morning ,I use the medicine ball to stretch and gain balance , the way we breath may not be correct the instructor gives a different way , he gives you an adjustable way at adapt a work out that fits the individual , I have read and looked at other materials through out the years , this method stands out for me and I hope it may do the same for you, good luck.(and seeing how the body functions as you do this was good to know also)
Date published: 2021-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good value, and potentially life improving. A good presenter with clear explanations and demonstrations throughout. Everyone will benefit themselves with the knowledge and exercise regimes demonstrated in this series. My only mini dislike was the cheesy photos of people exercising; they were not realistic. Toothpaste-commercial grins at the camera of people supposedly in the midst of press ups or moderately strenuous exercise, were a bit cringe-making. Other than that minor niggle, it is a great course and great presenter.
Date published: 2021-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Packed with useful tips I'm fitter for following the advice in this course. I've incorporated the warmup routine in Lecture 8 into almost all of my workouts. The advice is practical, seems to follow mainstream science and is geared to the average person, although I'd bet even athletes could get something out of this.
Date published: 2020-10-09
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Whether your goal is to live to be 100, run a marathon, reduce your waistline, or just get the most from daily life, functional fitness is the foundation for active and dynamic living and the best quality of life you can have. In Physiology and Fitness, international fitness expert Dean Hodgkin shows you a new, scientifically based way to reach your own optimum fitness and to keep it for life. This course presents a groundbreaking approach to fitness education that brings together scientific knowledge with results-driven practice in a wholly integrated system, allowing you to enjoy the rich vitality and health that prime fitness offers-whatever your age or current fitness level.


Dean Hodgkin

Teaching people how the body works and how exercise can be of benefit is my mission in life, hence I'm so grateful for the opportunity to work with The Great Courses.


University of Portsmouth

International fitness expert Dean Hodgkin has presented master classes and seminars to fitness instructors in more than 30 countries. Voted Best International Fitness Presenter at the One Body One World awards in New York, he has appeared on numerous television and radio programs worldwide. A three-time World Karate Champion and a two-time European Karate Champion, Hodgkin earned a B.Sc. honors degree in Mathematics and Management Studies from the University of Portsmouth. He continued his education at Leicester College, where he was awarded the Certificate in Exercise and Health Studies by the Physical Education Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the leading qualification in the field at the time. Since then he has accrued a wide and impressive array of vocational qualifications and is a regular attendee at conferences focused on the latest health and fitness research findings. At the 2012 International Fitness Showcase-Europe's largest group exercise event, attracting more than 7,000 participants-Hodgkin received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his services to the fitness industry.

By This Expert

Physiology and Fitness
Essentials of Strength Training
Physiology and Fitness


Components of Fitness

01: Components of Fitness

Begin by considering the life-enhancing value of fitness and the remarkable statistics showing its wide range of benefits for your physical and mental health. In approaching the specifics of exercise, you'll investigate the health-related components of fitness, including cardiovascular health, muscular endurance and strength, flexibility, and body composition.

36 min
How Fit Are You?

02: How Fit Are You?

Measuring the core elements of your own fitness is an important step in designing and managing an exercise program. Here, learn about the principal methods of fitness testing and how to set benchmarks to monitor your own progress. Guided by filmed demonstrations, perform your own at-home tests covering the areas of fitness you learned about in the first lecture.

28 min
Overcome the Barriers to Exercise

03: Overcome the Barriers to Exercise

This lecture looks in depth at potential obstacles encountered in exercise. Examine the logistical and psychological challenges in designing a fitness program and how to overcome them. Explore the elements of motivation and effective approaches to setting fitness goals. Also, learn some of the many ways you can integrate exercise into your daily routine.

32 min
Your Heart in Action

04: Your Heart in Action

Here, investigate the fabulous mechanism of your own heart, the system of blood flow through the body, and exactly why the heart becomes stronger through exercise. Learn about the primary cardiovascular workouts-including continuous training, interval training, and cross training-and their effects on your quality of life.

32 min
The Fitness of Breathing

05: The Fitness of Breathing

In exploring the respiratory system, study the processes of breathing and lung function and the ways in which exercise benefits all maladies of the lungs. Then practice a group of breathing exercises from different traditions, noting how they improve cardiac function, decrease stress, and aid both physical and mental health.

31 min
You Can Reduce Stress

06: You Can Reduce Stress

Exercise offers one of the most effective defenses against stress. First, look at the root causes of stress, its debilitating symptoms, and specific self-help tactics to counter it, including relaxation techniques, meditation, and even laughing. Conclude with a series of targeted physical exercises to release stress from all areas of the body.

36 min
Fitness and Pregnancy

07: Fitness and Pregnancy

Contrary to common myths, intelligent exercise provides numerous benefits during pregnancy. Study how exercise affects the changes taking place in a pregnant woman's body. See how the core principles of exercise apply during pregnancy and learn specific recommendations for prenatal exercise and for returning to normal fitness afterward.

27 min
Refuel, Recover, and Reenergize

08: Refuel, Recover, and Reenergize

Proper physical recovery, both after exercise and between workouts, is essential to achieving fitness goals. Learn about the physiology of fatigue and rest and the fundamentals of refueling, including carbohydrate, protein, and fluid intake. Then, study physical recovery after exercise, highlighting water therapy, stretching, myofascial release, and self-massage techniques.

31 min
Thinking-The Brain-Body Connection

09: Thinking-The Brain-Body Connection

This lecture explores the significant effects of physical activity on brain function and psychological health. Investigate the capacity of exercise to build your self-esteem, elevate your mood, and improve your cognitive function and sleep habits. Also, explore the use of mental imagery to boost your physical performance and deepen your well-being.

30 min
Healthy Joints for Life

10: Healthy Joints for Life

Now discover the body's incredible system of joints and the role of the joints in human mobility. Study the structure and function of all the major joints and why exercise is crucial for their health and longevity. Consider the various forms of joint problems and specific ways to overcome them.

35 min
Protecting Yourself from Injury

11: Protecting Yourself from Injury

Injury in exercise can be minimized or avoided completely with a clear knowledge of its potential. Begin by tracking how injuries heal, then review common activity-related injuries and their remedies. After that, study the psychological factors in injury, approaches to pain management, and how to calibrate your fitness program to avoid injury.

34 min
The Amazing Benefits of Balance

12: The Amazing Benefits of Balance

This lecture explores balance training as a prime preventive tool for health. Investigate the processes involved in balance and the role of balance in all physical activity. Practice a spectrum of exercises to improve your posture, coordination, reaction speed, strength, and flexibility. Also, learn about advanced techniques for improving your sports performance.

35 min
Fueling Fitness

13: Fueling Fitness

Every biological process requires energy. Understanding energy production, therefore, gives you far-reaching insight into exercise. Study the body's three basic fuels (carbohydrates, protein, and fat), the three systems of energy production in the body, and, in practice, how to train these energy systems to get the fitness results you're after.

30 min
Why Everyone Should Exercise in Water

14: Why Everyone Should Exercise in Water

For many people of all fitness levels, the pool is becoming the new gym. Here, immerse yourself in the numerous benefits of water-based workouts, delving into fluid dynamics as they affect exercise. Study a range of tips for your pool workout and learn about variations such as water-based yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi.

29 min
The Secret Life of Muscles

15: The Secret Life of Muscles

Physical strength and endurance-as well as movement itself-rest on the body's complex system of muscles. Study the basics of muscle construction and action and the muscular movements in all the key joints. Learn in detail about resistance training and how to construct dynamic workouts around your own fitness goals.

31 min
Strong to the Bone

16: Strong to the Bone

Discover the living structure of the skeleton, the surprising construction and variety of the bones, and how bone health plays a critical role in the quality of your later life. Then, see how resistance training increases bone density, and review the many training options that can delay or even reverse bone deterioration and osteoporosis.

32 min
Getting Your Back on Track

17: Getting Your Back on Track

The engineering marvel of the spine provides support for your entire body. Study the anatomy of the spine, spinal motion, and the concept of "core strength"-the action of the spine-related muscles working together. In filmed demonstrations, target the core muscles in exercise, laying the foundation for a healthy back for life.

32 min
21st-Century Yoga

18: 21st-Century Yoga

Drawing on a 3,000-year-old tradition, consider the many proven health benefits of "fitness yoga," which aims to enhance muscular balance and strength, develop flexibility, and improve skeletal posture and lung capacity. In this lecture, demystify the complexities of yoga. Here, you'll practice a sequence of three basic poses and discover how to link them as a routine.

39 min
Walk Your Way to Fitness

19: Walk Your Way to Fitness

This lecture highlights the remarkable and underappreciated rewards of walking. Track the research documenting the numerous health parameters affected by walking, including its cardiovascular, weight loss, and disease-reduction benefits. Learn the physiology of walking motion, key principles for walking workouts, and three walking techniques you can use to improve your health and fitness.

30 min
The Amazing Benefits of Stretching

20: The Amazing Benefits of Stretching

As one of the core health-related components of fitness, flexibility plays a fundamental role in your quality of life and longevity. Using filmed demonstrations, learn three kinds of stretching techniques (as well as guidelines for your own stretching program) to enhance your range of motion and physical relaxation, reduce risk of injury, and improve posture.

30 min
Stay Active-Defy the Aging Process

21: Stay Active-Defy the Aging Process

Explore the nature of aging in all of the body's systems and the extraordinary capacity of exercise to slow and even reverse the biological clock. Target relevant exercises for cardio fitness, strength/endurance, flexibility, balance, and motor skills. Also, establish an exercise blueprint for each decade of your life.

34 min
Sitting Disease

22: Sitting Disease

As the flip side of physical activity, prolonged sitting poses real hazards for your health. Study the physiological effects of sedentary living and the risks and loss of functionality that result. Learn a four-prong system to improve your future health by introducing more activity at work, at home, and while flying and driving.

37 min
Exercise for Weight Loss

23: Exercise for Weight Loss

Beyond aesthetic matters, weight management is a fundamental issue for health and longevity. This lecture explores exercise as a dynamic tool for weight loss, showing you how and why it works. Learn about exercise programs and approaches for weight-loss training and the factors involved in successfully maintaining your new weight.

29 min
Mobilizers and Stabilizers-Managing Your Abs

24: Mobilizers and Stabilizers-Managing Your Abs

The perfectly flat stomach remains the most popular aesthetic indictor of fitness. In understanding this key area, uncover the structure of the "mobilizer" and "stabilizer" muscles and their unique functions. Practice a series of moving and isometric exercises to tone them, serving both to look your best and build a strong core.

33 min
Body Weight Workout

25: Body Weight Workout

This first workout uses only the weight of your body against gravity, providing a whole body workout you can do anywhere, with no cost and no special equipment. Emphasizing everyday movements for functional fitness, this lecture shows you 13 core floor and standing exercises that target all areas of the body.

29 min
Medicine Ball Workout

26: Medicine Ball Workout

Prized by athletes since ancient times, the medicine ball is an ideal exercise tool to develop power for personal fitness and sports performance. Here, perform a complete top-to-toe workout with the ball, targeting flexion, extension, rotation movements, and muscle groups including your shoulder girdle, triceps, abdominals, and core muscles.

25 min
Step and Interval Workout

27: Step and Interval Workout

Using a simple step platform, this workout combines cardio and strength exercises that work your upper and lower body. Alternating one minute of cardio and one minute of strength work (with 30 seconds of rest in between), perform a comprehensive range of exercises to burn calories, improve balance, and tone your body.

32 min
Dumbbell Workout

28: Dumbbell Workout

Beyond its many remarkable health benefits, resistance training is the number one choice for changing or "sculpting" your physique. Using the principle of your muscles' adaptation to work against resistance, practice a series of eight dumbbell exercises, targeting alternating muscle groups in your arms, shoulders, legs, chest, and abdominal areas.

24 min
Combat Workout

29: Combat Workout

Using no equipment, this workout employs intense cardio combat movements and develops the skill-related elements of agility, balance, and coordination. Learn a series of defensive blocks as well as dynamic punches and powerful kicks, linking them together in sequences to burn calories and reshape your whole body.

32 min
Fitness Ball Workout

30: Fitness Ball Workout

Challenging you to work against an unstable surface, this large, inflatable ball is a versatile tool for achieving whole-body strength and alignment. Practice a range of exercises in different positions with the ball, working muscle groups including the gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps, inner thighs, back muscles, and rotator cuffs.

27 min
Balance Board Workout

31: Balance Board Workout

Exercising with a balance board challenges your body's joint receptors that control movement and balance, as well as recruits 20% more muscle fibers than a flat-surface workout. Learn 13 key exercises using the board, in a total-body workout for toning, balance, and core strength.

33 min
Kettlebell Workout

32: Kettlebell Workout

First used by the Russian military in the 18th century, the kettlebell allows for swinging movements and working with momentum, stimulating a different muscular response from other resistance tools. Practice an eight-exercise workout, using the kettlebell to build your cardio fitness, endurance, core strength, posture, and coordination.

26 min
Plyometrics Workout

33: Plyometrics Workout

Also known as "jump training," plyometrics uses the principle of increasing muscular power by stretching muscles before contracting them. In this time-efficient, intensive workout, focus on six jump-based exercises, dynamically working both your legs and upper torso, burning calories and toning all of the major muscles in your body.

29 min
Resistance Band Workout

34: Resistance Band Workout

The resistance band, an elastic tube with handles on either end, is an ingenious exercise tool, allowing you to do a full muscular strength workout at home or while traveling. Using the band's resistance in various positions, work a range of muscle groups in your arms, chest, back, shoulders, and legs.

33 min
Training Bar Workout

35: Training Bar Workout

Weighted and roughly three feet long, the training bar is a convenient home-use tool for building muscular strength and endurance. Practice a spectrum of exercises that will work and tone numerous muscle groups, develop your arms and legs, and integrate strength in your upper and lower body.

30 min
Stretching Routine

36: Stretching Routine

This concluding workout is designed as both a daily flexibility routine and as a sequence you can use at the end of any of the other workouts. After reviewing the core principles of flexibility training, you'll practice a pleasurable and invigorating group of static stretches that will release all the areas of your body.

37 min