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Trends and Topics: Physical Activity and Aging, The University of Mississippi

Christopher Kovacs, PhD


Trends and Topics: Physical Activity and Aging - Ole Miss

Instructor: Christopher Kovacs, PhD

Required Texts: Spirduso, W. (1995). Physical Dimensions of Aging, (1st Ed.). Human Kinetics/Champaign, IL

Credit: 3 semester hours

Catalog Description:
Identification and analysis of trends and topics in exercise science. This course is designed to examine the aging processes seen during both normal and diseased aging and the effects of physical activity on maintaining functional independence and a quality of life in older adults.

General Course Objectives:

  • Demonstrate a strong understanding of the conceptual model of human aging.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical perspectives of aging.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the physical, psychological, and sociological changes that occur with aging.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the effects of exercise and activity on the aging processes.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the effects of age-related diseases on human functioning.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the effects of physical activity on age-related diseases.

General topics to be covered (not all-inclusive):

  • Introduction to aging theory
  • Age-related diseases
  • Changes in physical functioning with aging.
  • Changes in psychological function with aging.
  • Functional ability with aging
  • Aging and societal affects
  • Importance of physical activity during the aging process.
  • Differences between aging and development
  • Social gerontology and exercise
  • Masters athletes
  • Exercise prescription and older adults.

Student Responsibilities

  • Reading: Student will study the assigned readings for each week prior to class
  • Discussion/Assignments: Students will come prepared to ask questions and discuss the topics in class. Additionally, each student must be prepared to complete in-class assignments when assigned.

Methods of Instruction:
Lecture, independent study, discussion, small group analysis.

Evaluation of Student Progress:
Grading Scale:
A = 90-100
B = 80-89
C = 70-79
D = 60-69
F = 0-59

Basis for Grades:

  • Exams (3) 60%
  • Homework/In-class Assignments 10%
  • Article Critiques (1) 10%
  • Final Research Paper 20%

Please note I do not curve grades in my courses. What you earn is what you will receive.

A few notes:

  • All assignments must be turned in on time, otherwise they will not be accepted and the student will receive a zero for that assignment. If special circumstances arise, please contact me as soon as possible. I am very fair and will try and work with you if something should arise.
  • Academic integrity will also be strictly enforced in this class. Make sure that your work is YOURS. Although you may be asked to work in groups during this class, I expect any assignments turned in be from each individual, unless otherwise stated. Please come and talk to me with any questions regarding my policies. My door is always open (not literally, but figuratively...just knock).
  • The study of aging and physical activity is an interesting topic with a variety of different aspects. I have designed this class in a manner that will allow a broad-based examination of this topic. Therefore, I reserve the right to make any adjustments to the following syllabus when a topic of interest changes based on current information or class interest seems appropriate. Any changes in the following syllabus will be communicated with the class prior to the changes being made.

Anticipated Weekly Schedule and Readings:
Week 1: Introduction/Theories of aging- Readings: Chapter 1
Week 2: Health and Chronic Disease/Health services- Readings: TBA
Week 3: Physical development and decline- Readings: Chapters 2-3
Week 4: Changes in cardiovascular functioning/muscular strength with aging- Readings: Chapters 4-5
Week 5: Motor Control and Aging- Readings: Chapters 6-8
Week 6: Motor Control and Aging- Readings: Chapters 6-8
Week 7: Functional activities and aging- Readings: TBA
Week 8: Psychological changes with aging- Readings: Chapters 9-10
Week 9: Disease and aging, and exercise- Readings TBA
Week 10: Physical health and well-being- Readings: Chapter 11
Week 11: Master athletes and sport performance/ Physically elite elderly- Readings: Chapter 14
Week 12: Physical performance and the oldest-old- Readings: Chapter 12
Week 13: Exercise prescription in older adults- Readings: TBA
Week 14: Social aspects of aging and exercise- Readings: TBA
Week 15: Catch-up/Review


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Physical Dimensions of Aging-2nd Edition

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