Hodges, Alastair

Dr. Alastair Hodges, BHK 1998, PhD 2006, is in the midst of a successful academic career. He has earned an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from the University of British Columbia, a Master’s degree in exercise physiology from McGill University, and a Doctorate in exercise physiology from the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre at UBC. He has also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary and is now the Dean of Health Sciences at the University of the Fraser Valley, where he has helped to increase the number of real-world learning opportunities for Health Sciences students. A significant part of Alastair’s scholarly interests are born of his experiences as an athlete, as well as an outdoorsman.

As an exercise physiologist, Alastair’s main goal is to study the temporary and chronic physiological adaptations that occur in humans in response to exercise. In particular, he studies the role the pulmonary system may play in both facilitating and limiting physical activity, exploring the relationship between blood oxygenation and heavy exercise, in combination with changes in altitude.

One of Alastair’s secondary interests is to explore the unique physiological challenges and occupational demands of those who work in the forestry sector. As a student, Alastair worked as a seasonal tree-planter and forest fire-fighter, clocking in 17 years over the course of his university education, and experienced firsthand the steep physical and psychological demands of workers in this industry. Alastair is well of aware of the unique acute and chronic health and safety hazards associated with these jobs.

His experience in the forestry sector has not only inspired him to fill the gaps in this area of research, but has impacted and supplemented his teaching. “Often I think back to my days as an athlete and as a tree-planter and I remember the dedication required in pursuit of a goal, the team-work, and the drive and motivation needed to overcome physical and mental challenges and adversity. I think those are all life lessons I’ve tried to pass on to my students even though I teach them completely different subjects.”

Alastair teaches exercise physiology, clinical exercise physiology, health and fitness assessment, and high performance conditioning. He now lives with his wife Jackie and their two children in Chilliwack, where he greatly enjoys the outdoor recreation possibilities of living and working in the Fraser Valley.