Dr. Jason Menoutis
Physical Education

Your Subtitle text
Key Terms


Go to the following website for an in-depth list of fitness, nutrition, health, and wellness key terms:

(National Academy of Sports Medicine)            


Go to the following website for an in-depth look at the human body and anatomy:

(National Academy of Sports Medicine)            


Basic Terms:

  the general well-being of the body systems and good overall functioning of
the various body  systems and vital organs 

Physical Fitness
: the ability of the body to meet the demands of a given situation, as relevant to the individual

Specific fitness: the ability of the body to meet the demands of a particular sport and its fitness components

General fitness: the overall basic fitness of an individual who can meet the demands of everyday life

Motor fitness:   the ability of the central nervous system to work with the body to produce quick, precise and accurate movements

Speed:   the ability to move all body parts or whole body as quickly as possible

  the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to apply force or to overcome resistance

Stamina: the ability to keep going for as long as possible or for as long as is required

  full range of movement of muscles and a joint 

Muscular endurance:
    the ability of the muscles to work hard for a period of time, usually

Static strength:   the ability to apply maximum force against a non-moving object (static = still or stationary)

Explosive strength:    maximum muscular force used in one sudden movement

Dynamic strength:
     the ability to work with maximum effort for a period of time repeatedly

Reaction time:    to respond to something or someone as quickly as possible

Cartilage:     tough, rubbery tissue covering bones ends at a joint so as to allow friction-free movement

Ligaments:    attach bone to bone at a joint to stabilise it and help prevent dislocation

   attaches muscle to bone  

Smooth muscle: 
    involuntary muscles which are not generally under our direct control

Skeletal muscle:   voluntary muscles which are under our direct control

Prime mover: 
  the muscle of a pair which contracts to cause movement

Antagonist:    the muscle of a pair which relaxes to allow movement

Synergist:  the muscles which help to stabilise movement of the body around a joint

Origin:  the end of the contracting muscle where no movement occurs

Insertion:    the end of the contracting muscle where the movement occurs

Breathing:    the act of taking air in and pushing air out of the lungs; the mechanics of the action.

Inspiration :   the act of breathing in

Expiration:    the act of breathing out

Respiration:       the process of freeing of energy from our food

Aerobic respiration:    the freeing of energy using oxygen (long duration and low intensity exercise) Glucose + oxygen = carbon dioxide + water + energy

Anaerobic respiration :    the freeing of energy without oxygen (short duration, high intensity) Glucose = lactic acid + energy

Oxygen debt:     the way in which oxygen is ‘paid back’ after intense anaerobic exercise to replenish energy supplies and to remove lactic acid from muscle cells

Aerobic capacity:    the ability of the heart and lungs to meet the demands of sustained activity (cardio-respiratory fitness / stamina)

Vital capacity:   the maximum amount of air that the lungs can hold (measured by the amount exhaled)

VO2 Max. :    the maximum amount of oxygen that can be taken in and utilised by the working muscles during exercise in 1 minute.

Tidal volume:     the amount of air breathed in and out when at rest (approx. 0.5 litres when at rest compared to 5 - 6 litres when exercising in an adult male)

Heart :    a cardiac muscle. A hollow pump with 4 chambers.

Blood vessels:    these transport blood, nutrients and some waste products; the veins, arteries and capillaries

Diet :     the food and fluids taken in and required for their energy and essential nutrients

Energy equation:     the balance and link between diet, weight and energy needs

Basic metabolic rate:     the amount of energy we all use and need to keep alive and healthy

Somatotypes:       different categories (3) of defining body types and build (endomorph, mesomorph, ectomorph)

Posture:     the way in which the body parts are positioned in relation to each other, such as a straight back which is seen to be good posture

Fatigue:     physical tiredness making it difficult to take part or continue. Often caused by lactic acid build up after exercise

Sponsorship:     when a company provides money, kit and / or clothing to a team or individual in return for publicity

Media:     the means by which events and news are covered and broadcast; TV, newspapers, radio

Amateur:     a sports person who is not paid but who plays just for enjoyment

Professional:     sports person who is paid to participate; it is their job / career

Leisure time:     the free time outside of work / school when a choice can be made as to how that time is spent - leisure activities

National:     involving only one country

International:   involving more than one country, such as the Olympics