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Issue: #7July 2010
Thank you for being part of our community. ASEP is the specific voice for (historically under-represented) Exercise Physiologists. Please use this Newsletter as a link to ASEP resources from scientific journals to professional papers, to employment and related opportunities. And be sure to click on "More On Us" at the left for the ASEP-Newsletter's parent web site.
Yours in health, 
-Lonnie Lowery and Jonathan Mike, ASEP-Newsletter Editors 
 Editor's Corner

editorial Regional Pockets of Exercise Physiology?


I'm becoming increasingly cognizant of something that perhaps not all readers of this Newsletter fully appreciate: "Pockets" of activity and prestige in the health professions. You see, the state-by-state nature of licensure can create non-uniform patterns of healthcare and wellness across the United States. Some locales provide recognition and good pay for a particular profession, while others look upon that very profession as a non-entity. I'll share three little stories on this today:


Story One: My initial exposure to this was through nutrition/dietetics. Ohio, for example, is very strict in its regulation of this field. Simultaneously, there is almost no regulation or recognition of exercise physiology in the state. I learned that certain exercise science colleagues of mine who wanted to maintain a wellness business involving nutrition assessment and advice must reside elsewhere. Regardless of holding an advanced degree or a large knowledge base, no license to practice nutrition in Ohio equals no (legal) nutrition business. Period. One of these colleagues, to this day, is forced to avoid Ohio and carefully reside in southern border states and Canadian provinces where licensure laws are less policed. In those areas, dietitians may enjoy less dominance (lacking a monopoly, if you will) while exercise science grads enjoy enough recognition to have there own profitable nutrition-wellness businesses. 


Story Two: I experienced a similar situation while interning in nutrition-dietetics at a large medical clinic in Cleveland. I was "all-but-dissertation" in exercise physiology and sitting among bachelors-degreed peers. Was I afforded a little extra acknowledgement for my dozen years of schooling and knowledge of nutrition and metabolism? Not really. Exercise physiology isn't recognized as a legitimate healthcare profession in Ohio due to lack of licensure. The "L word" was all that mattered. There were times I felt that I was more like a patient or customer than a well-educated physiologist.


Given my experiences above, it's clear that in Ohio, for right or wrong, dietetics is recognized as a legitimate practice while exercise physiology (in legal, clinical and salary-prestige terms) does not compare.


Story Three: Perhaps a flip side to the above two anecdotes is called for. Recently I learned more about "professional pockets" while visiting an apparently pro-exercise physiologist state: Minnesota. I was told by a clinician and academic instructor there that, in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Exercise Physiologists practically dominate the cardiac rehabilitation profession. I was a bit surprised and encouraged at this, considering nurses hold that authority in my home state. Can it be that, over time, and with enough science and lobbying, EPs can gain a lasting foothold that could serve as a sort of "home base" from which to expand to less accepting regions of the country? I hope so. It was good to hear that at least in one regional pocket of the U.S., Exercise Physiologists still have solid employment and acceptance.


Thus end my brief accounts of state / regional pockets of widely differing professional momentum and acceptance. These are just my own experiences and I am no expert in state-by-state legislatures or their healthcare environments. I welcome input from those who have such expertise. I also realize that there are pros and cons to uniform (perhaps federal) standards for (sometimes competing) health professions - and that all states should not necessarily have identical rules. Still, the contrasts I've seen in my own travels suggest that one's choice of residence in the U.S. plays an important role in his/her livelihood as an EP. This is not something I was taught in school but it is an issue worth investigating for existing students of physiology.


Lonnie Lowery, PhD

ASEP-Newsletter Editor 

Ask the EP 
Q:  What are the effects of alcohol on exercise and sports performance?

A:   Alcohol consumption in an integral component of a wide variety of sporting events and highly prevalent among social circles within sport, and perhaps one of the most widely used drugs among sport participants and overall athletics. The highest percentage of athletes who consume alcohol are found in sports including rugby, cricket, hurling, soccer, highland games, compared with sports such as horse racing, cycling, and tennis.


Although it can provide a source of energy, alcohol (ethanol) does have metabolic, cardiovascular, thermoregulatory, and neuromuscular actions that can affect exercise performance. Strength is minimally affected, and performance impairments depend on the dose of alcohol and subject habituation to alcohol intake, exercise duration, environmental conditions, and other factors. Central nervous system function is impaired at high doses, resulting in decrements in cognitive function and motor skill, as well as behavioral changes that may have adverse effects on performance.


Despite the universal belief that alcohol consumption in small amounts improves sports performance, the following ACSM guidelines depict the effects of alcohol on exercise performance:


  • Pychomotor skills impairment
  • V02 max is minimally affected
  • Acute ingestion is not associated with improvement in exercise capacity and may decrease performance level
  • May perturb thermoregulatory mechanisms during exercise, especially in a cold environment.


Chronic consumption of alcohol has shown that alcohol myopathy is expressed in glycolytic muscles, in which protein turnover and glucose metabolism deficiencies are present. Nonetheless, it is well recognized that ethanol has a variety of effects on carbohydrate metabolism in skeletal muscle and liver. Much of the available evidence comes from older studies using animal models, showing that synthesis of glycogen in both liver and oxidative skeletal muscle is impaired in the presence of even relatively low levels of ethanol, though there seems to be no effect on type 2 muscle fibers. There is also evidence of impaired hepatic glucose output in the presence of even low doses of ethanol. This may be of particular concern during prolonged, moderate-intensity exercise when glucose output from the liver is an important source of energy.


Hormonal changes are also related to alcohol consumption in moderate to high doses such as increases in vasopressin, sympathetic nervous system activity and catecholamine release. Although a complex process, cardiovascular platelet aggregation is affected by alcohol. Acute consumption of large amounts is directly related to increased an heart rate and blood flow. However, these physiological affects are dose dependent. In addition, temporary declines in left ventricular contractions and myocardial irritability, which may result in arrhythmias can be seen.


Probably one of the more significant affects of alcohol is that of immune system response and host defense. Those who drink regularly and consistently are more vulnerable to infection with a variety of pathogens and the ability to ward off infection is weakened. Other immune affects of alcohol include decreased lymphocyte cell number, impaired macrophage function and abnormal neutrophil leukocyte adherence.


 Although this gives some brief insight into the physiological and psychological parameters of alcohol and sports performance, the extent to which this occurs depends on many factors, including the exercise mode and duration and the individuals habituation to alcohol intake.




1). ACSM. (2006). ACSM's Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (7th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.


2). -Sayed MS, Ali N, El-Sayed Ali Z. Interaction between alcohol and exercise: physiological and haematological implications. Sports Med. 2005;35(3):257-69.Review.


3). Shirreffs SM, Maughan RJ. The effect of alcohol on athletic performance. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2006 Jun;5(4):192-6. Review.



Jonathan Mike, MS, CSCS, USAW, NSCA-CPT, Doctoral Student, Assistant Editor 

Advertisements & Announcements

Opportunities Related to Exercise Physiology

Community Announcement: Iron has issued a call for brief submissions from EP students or professionals interested in getting their first involvement in legitimate Internet / pod casting settings. Opinions on professional issues or micro reviews and recent research are welcomed. Students' audio submissions (see National Public Radio (NPR]) and / or the Iron web site for examples) will be editor-reviewed by ASEP-Newsletter Editors Dr. Lonnie Lowery and Jonathan Mike. The submissions should be 300-500 word essays read aloud and recorded with Windows Sound Recorder or similar software and sent via email to Iron is not ASEP-affiliated.

The Department of Kinesiology at the University of New Hampshire... is currently seeking applicants for a tenure track appointment in Exercise Science at the Assistant or Associate Professor level. ...more information...
NOTE: ASEP Board of Directors with approval of The Center for Exercise Physiology-online developed the "EPC Petition Guidelines" for doctorate exercise physiologists to become Board Certified.

Thank you for perusing our opinions, facts and opportunities in this edition of the ASEP-Newsletter.

Lonnie Lowery
American Society of Exercise Physiologists

All contents are copyright 1997-2010 American Society of Exercise Physiologists.