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Ergonomics in Sport and Physical Activity

Ergonomics in Sport and Physical Activity


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    Ergonomics in Sport and Physical Activity: Enhancing Performance and Improving Safety is the first text to provide an in-depth discussion of how the principles of ergonomics can be applied in the context of sport and other physical activities to reduce injury and improve performance. The text blends concepts from biomechanics, physiology, and psychology as it shows how ergonomics is applied to physical activity.

    This comprehensive text outlines methods for assessing risk in and procedures for dealing with stress, eliminating hazards, and evaluating challenges posed in specific work or sport environments. It discusses issues such as the design of effective equipment, clothing, and playing surfaces; methods of assessing risk in situations; and staying within appropriate training levels to reduce fatigue and avoid overtraining. The text not only examines sport ergonomics but also discusses ergonomic considerations for physically active special populations.

    Ergonomics in Sport and Physical Activity explains what ergonomics is, how ergonomists solve practical problems in the workplace, and how principles of ergonomics are applied in the context of sport and other physical activities when solving practical problems related to human characteristics and capabilities. The text shows readers how to improve performance, achieve optimal efficiency, enhance comfort, and reduce injuries by exploring topics such as these:

    • Essential concepts, terms, and principles of ergonomics and how these relate to physical activity
    • Physical properties of the body and the factors limiting performance
    • Interactions between the individual, the task, and the environment
    • Injury risk factors in relation to body mechanics in various physical activities
    • Injury prevention and individual protection in the review of sports equipment and sports environments
    • Comfort, efficiency, safety, and details of systems criteria in equipment design

    This research-based text uses numerous practical examples, figures, charts, and graphs to bring the material to life. In addition, descriptions of technological advances show where we have been and how technology has advanced the field. Through the book’s discussion of the various stressors and adaptive mechanisms, readers will learn how to cope with various environmental conditions. They will also learn how various training modes can be used to alter sport-specific capabilities and enhance performance.

    Presenting a wide range of approaches, theoretical models, and analytical techniques, Ergonomics in Sport and Physical Activity: Enhancing Performance and Improving Safety illustrates the potential for ergonomics to be extended across recreation, competitive sport, and physically active work environments. Bridging the gap between ergonomics and exercise science, this unique text will assist both health care and exercise professionals in developing an improved awareness of how human capabilities are best matched to physical activities.


    A reference for biomechanists, exercise physiologists, ergonomists, physical and occupational therapists, athletic trainers, sports physicians, personal trainers, and fitness specialists. Also a text for physical therapy students.

    Table of Contents

    Part I. Risk Factors

    Chapter 1. Physical Properties of Human Structures
    Monitoring Activity Demands
    Assessing Individual Characteristics
    Assessing Physiological Capabilities
    Assessing Mental Load
    Overview and Summary

    Chapter 2. Health and Safety
    Predisposition to Injury
    Overtraining and Overreaching
    Risk Assessment
    Risk Taking and Fun
    Spectator Safety
    Human Ethics and Risk
    Overview and Summary

    Chapter 3. Environmental Stress
    Air Quality
    Overview and Summary

    Chapter 4. Circadian Rhythms
    Training and Time of Day
    Sleep–Wake Cycle
    Travel Fatigue and Jet Lag
    Sleep Deprivation or Disruption
    Nocturnal Shift Work
    Overview and Summary

    Part II. Sport Ergonomics

    Chapter 5. Ergonomics Models and Training Modes in Sport and Leisure
    Fitting the Task to the Person
    Generic Models
    The Training Component
    Technological Training Aids
    Overview and Summary

    Chapter 6. Competitive and Training Stress in Sport
    Physiological Loading
    Spinal Loading
    Physical Loading
    Psychological Loading
    Overview and Summary

    Chapter 7. Sports Equipment and Playing Surfaces
    Sports Implements
    Sport Surfaces
    Sports Clothing
    Sport Shoes
    Protective Functions of Sports Equipment
    Personal Protective Equipment
    Overview and Summary

    Part III. Ergonomics in Physical Activities

    Chapter 8. Fitness for Work
    Military Personnel
    Prison Officers
    Police Officers
    Bus Workers and Postal Workers
    Ambulance Workers
    Forestry Workers
    Beach Lifeguards
    Professional Divers
    Workplace Fitness Programs
    Overview and Summary

    Chapter 9. Special Populations
    Young People
    Elderly People
    Athletes With Disabilities
    Match Officials
    Overview and Summary

    Chapter 10. Clinical Aspects
    Predispositions to Injury
    Musculoskeletal Loading
    Warming Up and Cooling Down
    Recovery Process
    Prophylactic Measures
    Supplements in Clinical Contexts
    Artificial Neural Networks
    Overview and Summary

    Chapter 11. A Holistic and Nutritional Ergonomics Perspective
    Participatory Ergonomics
    Human Enhancement Technologies
    Performance and Cognitive Enhancement
    Historical Perspective on Drug Use
    From Clinic to Gymnasium
    Nutritional Supplements and Over-the-Counter Drugs
    Global Ergonomics
    Overview and Summary

    About the Author

    About the Author

    Thomas Reilly, PhD, DSc, FErgS, FIBiol, was a professor of sport science in the Research Institute for Sport & Exercise Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, United Kingdom. Reilly’s research focused on the field of sport ergonomics. He conducted research for a wide range of companies and organizations, including GlaxoSmithKline, Mars, the Football Association, the International Olympic Committee, Health and Safety Executive, the European Commission, and various professional soccer clubs and equipment manufacturers. In 2008, Reilly and his research team were awarded the President’s Medal from the Ergonomics Society.

     Reilly was a founding member of the European College of Sport Science, established in 1996. He was also a founding member of the Society of Sports Science, which became the British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences. He was a fellow of the Ergonomics Society, the Institute of Biology, the European College of Sport Science, and the British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences. Reilly was the founding editor of the Journal of Sports Sciences, holding this position from 1982 to 1997. He served as an editor for special issues in sport ergonomics for the Journal of Applied Ergonomics and Ergonomics.

     From 1992 to 2005, he was the chair of the Exercise Physiology Steering Group of the British Olympic Association. Reilly also served as chair of the British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences from 1994 to 1996 and as chair of the Scientific Committee of the European College of Sport Science from 2003 to 2008.

     Tom Reilly passed away on June 11, 2009, as this book was nearing publication.


    “The book shines. I have not found any other book that interweaves two concepts [sport science and ergonomics] so successfully.”

    —Doody’s Book Review (5-star review)