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Online Glossary / Quick Reference

The study of function; considers ways living organisms perform vital functions.

About Physiology

physiology is the scientific study of function in living organisms, encompassing how various systems, organs, tissues, and cells perform vital functions necessary for life. It aims to understand the mechanisms that enable organisms to grow, reproduce, maintain homeostasis, and respond to their environment. physiology is foundational for fields such as medicine, sports science, and biology, providing insights into the intricate workings of the body.

Key Areas of physiology

  • Cell physiology: Examines the functions of cells, the basic building blocks of life, including processes such as cell signaling, energy production, and replication.
  • Systemic physiology: Studies the function of organ systems, such as the cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems, and how they work together to sustain life.
  • exercise physiology: Focuses on how physical activity impacts bodily functions, exploring adaptations in muscle, cardiovascular, and metabolic systems during and after exercise.
  • Pathophysiology: Investigates how normal physiological processes are altered in disease conditions, providing insights into disease mechanisms and potential treatments.

Functions and Processes in physiology

  • Homeostasis: The body's ability to maintain a stable internal environment despite external changes, crucial for survival and function.
  • metabolism: The chemical reactions that occur within cells to convert food into energy, supporting growth, repair, and daily activities.
  • Respiration: The process of exchanging gases, primarily oxygen and carbon dioxide, between the body and the environment to support cellular respiration.
  • Circulation: The movement of blood throughout the body, delivering oxygen, nutrients, and removing waste products.
  • Neural Communication: The transmission of signals within the nervous system, coordinating bodily functions and responses to stimuli.

Importance of physiology

  • Medical Science: Understanding physiological processes is essential for diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases, forming the basis of medical practice.
  • Sports and Exercise: Knowledge of exercise physiology helps optimize athletic performance, improve training regimens, and promote health through physical activity.
  • Research and Development: Physiological studies contribute to scientific advancements, leading to the development of new technologies, treatments, and therapies.
  • Health and Wellness: Insight into how the body functions helps individuals make informed decisions about nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle for better health.

Branches of physiology

  • Human physiology: Studies the functions of the human body, with applications in medicine, healthcare, and fitness.
  • Comparative physiology: Compares physiological processes across different species, providing insights into evolution and adaptation.
  • Environmental physiology: Examines how organisms adapt to and survive in various environmental conditions.
  • Developmental physiology: Investigates how physiological processes change and develop throughout an organism's lifecycle.
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