Mathias Sorenson’s Continuing Education Journey, Part 2

If you missed my first blog post, you can find it here. This post will talk about my second semester, bringing me to my halfway point of grad school. In this semester, I took 3 classes: a continuation of research designs, followed by two advanced physiology courses.

  • Research Designs and Statistics II

This class was an extension of last semester’s research and designs class. However, the focal point in this course was on statistical analysis of research. Specifically, we learned about various types of hypothesis testing, levels of significance, measures of similarity as well as measures of difference, and much more. This class is critical to understanding literature as it’s published into journals of sports medicine. For example, we need to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of Treatment A vs Treatment B to determine if this is a reasonable treatment plan for a client. Throughout the class, we read and reviewed literature describing various effects of squats vs deadlifts in sprint times, HIIT vs Moderate Intensity Continuous Training on Diabetes, dosage response on cardiovascular exercise on heart failure, and many more.

  • Advanced Exercise Physiology

As the name implies, this class focuses on exercise physiology mechanisms on a deeper cellular level to better understand the macro effects of exercise on systems. For example, we know that resistance training builds muscle mass and this contributes to an increase in caloric expenditure. But the deeper question here: why? Throughout the course we focused on metabolic and biochemical changes in different cells, such as the mTOR and cMPK pathways for muscle generation. We also performed various exercise stress tests in different conditions (heat vs cold) to understand some of the changes that occur in the body. I was “lucky” enough to participate in the heat chamber: cycling for 60 minutes in a small chamber heated to 90 degrees Fahrenheit and 90% humidity. Guess what: it was exactly as miserable as it sounds.

  • Advanced Muscle Physiology

This course is similar to the previous one, only it focuses specifically on muscle physiology. We begin the class with a biochemical review of DNA, mRNA, transcription and translation factors to better understand what occurs on the cellular (and genetic) level of adaptation. My professor is a leading expert in muscle physiology, and throughout the semester we read and reviewed literature pertaining to the theory of muscle memory, or the idea that previously resisted trained muscles maintain some form of memory of prior gains during detraining. In other words, we explored the effects of myonuclear domain sizes on different types of muscle fibers across different participants who have had either some, none, or significant history of resistance training. Feel free to look through Dr. Kevin Murach and Dr. Jimmy Bagley’s literature on the matter here and here.

Over the next few months, I will be beginning my thesis project as well as a few other projects with some of the Kinesiology faculty. Currently, I am studying the effects of immersive VR gaming on children. Additionally, I am conducting a case study on the effects of VR gaming on exercise performance by playing active video games purely for the purpose of enjoyment. Stay tuned for more details later!