General dose-response issues concerning physical activity and health

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Bibliographic Details
Title translated into German:Fragen zum Einfluss der Dosierung in Bezug auf körperliche Aktivität und Gesundheit
Author:Haskell, William L.
Published in:Health enhancing physical activity
Published:Aachen: Meyer & Meyer (Verlag), 2004, S. 149-167, Lit.
Format: Publications (Database SPOLIT)
Publication Type: Compilation article
Media type: Print resource
Online Access:
Identification number:PU200603000484


During the past half century, there has been substantial scientific documentation that a wide variety of health benefits are provided by a physically active lifestyle. These data have informed recommendations about the type, intensity and amount of exercise that produces a variety of health benefits. Still needed, however, is additional research to address a number of unanswered questions regarding the dose of exercise required to provide discrete health outcomes in specific populations. Physical activity performed throughout the day consists of a highly complex set of behaviours with significant between-person variation. Providing dose-response recommendations using a simple statement or formula easily understood by the general public is a difficult challenge given the wide variety exercise doses that can be performed as defined by exercise type, intensity, session duration and session frequency and the large number of possible health and performance outcomes. Issues that need to be further investigated for advancing the scientific basis of exercise recommendations include: (1) the range of dose required to provide different health benefits (e.g., decreasing bone fracture risk versus decreasing risk of a heart attack); (2) beyond the minimal dose, how much more benefit is provided by exercise of greater intensity or duration; (3) the biological mechanism(s) by which a specific dose of exercise produces a clinical benefit; (4) benefits of accumulating activity over multiple sessions during the day versus one continuous session; and (5) possible need to adjust exercise recommendations for the general population as the amount of activity required for people to lead productive, but not necessarily healthy, lives continues to decrease. Issues related to dose-response that have only been addressed in a very limited way in current recommendations include the health benefits derived from immediate or acute responses to a bout of exercise versus benefits acquired from chronic or training responses. More information on the acute responses could influence the preferred timing of exercise sessions during the day or week for maximising specific health benefits. When a group of individuals complete a standardised exercise training regimen, there is substantial inter-individual variation in the changes produced for a number of health-related outcomes. Being able to identify the causes of this variation should help in much more effective individualisation of exercise dose recommendations. While the promotion of physical activity for maintaining the health of the general population and specific target groups is warranted based on existing scientific data, additional research should help to improve the effectiveness of these recommendations. Verf.-Referat