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Introduction to sport and fitness

This introductory module builds on your general or professional interest in sport, recreation and fitness. The underpinning concepts covered include the organisation of sport and fitness provision in the UK; the benefits of physical activity; fitness training principles; nutrition; and a range of other contemporary issues. You'll be able to apply your understanding to your own participation in sport or fitness, or to careers such as exercise instruction, sports coaching or PE teaching.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module code




  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.

Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.
Level of Study
1 7 4

Study method

Module cost

Entry requirements

Student Reviews

A good introductory module for anyone interested in sports and fitness. Plenty of variety within the module....
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What you will study

This module allows you to engage and develop your knowledge and understanding of key sport and fitness topics alongside developing a range of cognitive and professional skills that will support future study. The module comprises six study topics each covering a different area of sport and fitness. They include: 

  • Exploring Sport and Fitness – introduces the module and the module materials as well as discussing important terms to be used throughout the module such as 'sport', 'physical activity' and 'recreation'. This study topic will also introduce you to the different perspectives through which sport and fitness will be explored throughout this module.
  • What shapes participation in sport and fitness? – explores the factors that influence sport and fitness participation amongst different population groups and encourages you to reflect on what has shaped your own interest and engagement with sport and fitness. Potential barriers and facilitators to participation are identified to help explain current participation trends. This topic will allow you to evaluate sport and fitness provision in your local area as well as gaining a knowledge of the key types of organisations that are responsible for sport and fitness provision. It will provide an introduction to the nature of sport provision.
  • Sport, Exercise, and Physical Activity: What are the benefits? – draws upon a range of research evidence to investigate the social, physiological and psychological benefits of participating in sport, fitness and exercise. This will provide you with a useful introduction to the sociological, psychological and physiological disciplines of sport and exercise.
  • Contemporary Debates in sport and fitness – considers some of the topical debates in sport and fitness such as whether sport is always safe, cheating in sport, the impact of technology on children's physical activity levels, the provision of disability sport, and the role of practice and sports coaching as an art or science. You will use a range of academic and media sources to navigate your way through these lively and interesting topics.
  • Faster, Higher, Stronger: Training for Sport and Fitness – extends your understanding of physiology to examine the components of fitness and how these can be tested and developed using a variety of methods. This study topic will introduce you to core principles of anatomy and physiology, such as the anatomy of the skeletal and muscular systems and energy systems.
  • Eating to Win – considers the role of nutrition in sport and fitness and the application of nutrition to a variety of different sport and fitness situations.

All of the study topics adopt a progressive structure that develops your study skills as well as linking to real-life examples through the use of case studies and AV resources.

You will learn

By the end of this module you will be able to:

  • describe the beneficial effects of physical activity on an individual’s physical and mental health as well the wider benefits to society 
  • identify the key components of fitness and describe the principles and methods used in sport and fitness training to develop these components
  • demonstrate an understanding of the key concepts of nutrition and how they can be applied to sport and fitness performance
  • identify trends of participation among specific groups in sport and fitness and how these can be addressed 
  • demonstrate an understanding of selected debates in sport and fitness and their relevance to sport and fitness settings. 

Vocational relevance

This module is aimed at people with an interest in sport and fitness, and also those wanting to start or develop their careers in the sport and fitness industry.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your assignments, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. If you are new to the OU, you will find that your tutor will be particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. Contact with your tutor will be through the following methods:

  • online tutorials, which we strongly encourage you to participate in since most students find these extremely useful
  • online forum (email conference) within your tutor group
  • personal email or telephone.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box.

Future availability

Introduction to sport and fitness (E117) starts once a year – in October.

This page describes the module that will start in October 2024 when we expect it to start for the last time. A replacement module is planned for October 2025.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Course work includes:

4 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
2 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
No examination

Entry requirements

This module is a broad introduction to sport and fitness, and no assumptions are made about the knowledge or education you bring to it. As an OU level 1 module, it provides core subject knowledge and develops the study skills required for higher education and distance learning, that also support your progress to modules at OU level 2 and beyond. 

There are no requirements concerning a person’s level of fitness to take the module. There are no activities that require any sort of strenuous exercise; even the activities that involve physical activity may be carried out by a friend, with only the monitoring done by you.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.


Start End England fee Register
05 Oct 2024 Jun 2025 £3636.00

Registration closes 05/09/24 (places subject to availability)

October 2024 is the final start date for this course. For more information, see Future availability.

Additional Costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as set books, a computer and internet access.

If your income is not more than £25,000 or you receive a qualifying benefit, you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

Joint loan applications

If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and, therefore, the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules

This information was provided on 25/07/2024.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of not more than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

Online Study Guide and online Reader, hard copy module book, online assessment, and module website.

Computing requirements

You’ll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11) or macOS Ventura or higher.

Any additional software will be provided or is generally freely available.

To join in spoken conversations in tutorials, we recommend a wired headset (headphones/earphones with a built-in microphone).

Our module websites comply with web standards, and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile app will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It’s not available on Kindle.

It’s also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you’ll also require a desktop or laptop, as described above.

If you have a disability

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying E117 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our disability support pages.