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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2014 Aug;114(8):1563-71. doi: 10.1007/s00421-014-2887-9. Epub 2014 Apr 27.

Exercise volume and intensity: a dose-response relationship with health benefits.

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Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.



The health benefits of exercise are well established. However, the relationship between exercise volume and intensity and health benefits remains unclear, particularly the benefits of low-volume and intensity exercise.


The primary purpose of this investigation was, therefore, to examine the dose-response relationship between exercise volume and intensity with derived health benefits including volumes and intensity of activity well below international recommendations.


Generally healthy, active participants (n = 72; age = 44 ± 13 years) were assigned randomly to control (n = 10) or one of five 13-week exercise programs: (1) 10-min brisk walking 1×/week (n = 10), (2) 10-min brisk walking 3×/week (n = 10), (3) 30-min brisk walking 3×/week (n = 18), (4) 60-min brisk walking 3×/week (n = 10), and (5) 30-min running 3×/week (n = 14), in addition to their regular physical activity. Health measures evaluated pre- and post-training including blood pressure, body composition, fasting lipids and glucose, and maximal aerobic power (VO2max).


Health improvements were observed among programs at least 30 min in duration, including body composition and VO2max: 30-min walking 28.8-34.5 mL kg(-1) min(-1), 60-min walking 25.1-28.9 mL kg(-1) min(-1), and 30-min running 32.4-36.4 mL kg(-1) min(-1). The greater intensity running program also demonstrated improvements in triglycerides.


In healthy active individuals, a physical activity program of at least 30 min in duration for three sessions/per week is associated with consistent improvements in health status.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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