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Exercise Patterns and Peak Oxygen Uptake in a Healthy Population: The HUNT Study

NES, BJARNE M.1; JANSZKY, IMRE2,3; ASPENES, STIAN T.1,4; BERTHEUSSEN, GRO F.1,5; VATTEN, LARS J.1,2; WISLØFF, ULRIK1,6

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: October 2012 - Volume 44 - Issue 10 - p 1881–1889
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318258b443
Epidemiology

Purpose The objective of this study is to examine how different approaches of the current exercise recommendations for adults associate with V˙O2peak in a large healthy population. We further examined how a lower duration than recommended, if performed at very vigorous intensity, was related to V˙O2peak.

Methods A total of 4631 healthy adults age 19–89 yr (2263 men and 2368 women) were tested for V˙O2peak (mean = 44.3 and 35.9 mL·kg−1·min−1 for men and women, respectively). Information on exercise habits was collected through a questionnaire, including questions on frequency, duration, and relative intensity (Borg scale 6–20). A general linear model was applied to assess the associations between physical activity and V˙O2peak.

Results V˙O2peak did not differ considerably between people who reported to exercise ≥150 min·wk−1 (average = 216 min·wk−1, V˙O2peak = 45.2 and 36.5 mL·kg−1·min−1 for men and women, respectively) with moderate intensity and people who reported 75–149 min·wk−1 (average = 112.5 min·wk−1, V˙O2peak = 47.5 and 37.3 mL·kg−1·min−1 for men and women) with vigorous intensity, but it was higher than that in people who reported inactivity (V˙O2peak = 40.1 and 32.3 mL·kg−1·min−1 for men and women) or low-intensity exercise (V˙O2peak = 41.2 and 40.1 mL·kg−1·min−1 for men and women). Reporting exercise at very vigorous intensity but with a duration of less than 75 min·wk−1 (average = 49 min·wk−1) was associated with a V˙O2peak that was similarly high (47.6 and 36.7 mL·kg−1·min−1 for men and women).

Conclusion Our findings support current recommendations by showing that exercise of both “moderate intensity–long duration” and “vigorous intensity–short duration” was associated with similarly high V˙O2peak. Our results also suggest that exercising at very vigorous intensity may be beneficial for V˙O2peak even with considerably lower total exercise time than expressed in today’s recommendations.

1K.G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, NORWAY; 2Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, NORWAY; 3Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, SWEDEN; 4Norwegian Patient Register, Norwegian Directorate of Health, Oslo, NORWAY; 5Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, St. Olav University Hospital, Trondheim, NORWAY; and 6Centre for Sports and Physical Activity Research, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, NORWAY

Address for correspondence: Prof. Ulrik Wisløff, PhD, K.G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Postboks 8905, Prinsesse Kristinas gt 3, 7491 Trondheim, Norway; E-mail: ulrik.wisloff@ntnu.no.

Submitted for publication February 2012.

Accepted for publication April 2012.

©2012The American College of Sports Medicine