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Part III: Physiological Systems: Introduction

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This part of the text describes the many physiological systems that must work in a coordinated fashion for the body to maintain sustained physical exertion. Chapter 6 details the respiratory system. The anatomy, mechanics, and control of respiration are described, including the diffusion and transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Then Chapter 7 focuses on the cardiovascular system, presenting the anatomy of the heart and the structure of the blood vessels, including the associated hemodynamics of circulation. Chapter 8 brings this material together and presents information on the acute and chronic responses to exercise. The changes that take place during incremental, steady state, and maximal exercise are presented, as well as the cardiovascular and respiratory adaptations to training.

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Chapter 9 presents the structure and function of the nervous and muscular (collectively neuromuscular) systems and how they interact to provide bodily movement. Detail on the structure of muscle tissue and the contractile process is presented, with a specific focus on muscle fiber types and fiber recruitment patterns. The focus of the chapter on the nervous system is on how neural organization impacts the coordination of motor patterns and proprioception. Chapter 10 synthesizes all of the information presented in Chapter 9, highlighting the acute neuromuscular training responses and adaptations to exercise. There is a strong emphasis on the mechanism of muscle growth and muscle fiber adaptations to training.

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An overview of the endocrine system and the hormonal responses to exercise is presented in Chapter 11, with an emphasis on the specific hormones that are influenced by exercise. The final chapter in this part, Chapter 12, focuses on thermoregulation, with an emphasis on how the body regulates core temperature in response to exercising in hot and cold environments. Because exercising in these types of climates can provide safety challenges to individuals, a major focus of this chapter is on providing practical suggestions for avoiding temperature-related problems.

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