, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 157-165
Date: 05 Feb 2013

Toward Exercise as Personalized Medicine

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Abstract

The early 21st century has witnessed a steady push by scientists, industry leaders, and government officials to make medicine more personalized. To date, the concept of personalized medicine has referred largely to the field of pharmacogenomics. In contrast, relatively few data exist regarding the application of preventive strategies such as physical exercise in the context of personalized medicine. Within this review, we highlight the extant literature and propose five strategies for scientists that may propel the exercise and sports science fields toward this global goal. Notably, these approaches are in addition to methods to maintain adherence to training – a well-known factor in determining exercise responsiveness. Briefly, these strategies include (1) evaluating participant responses to training at the individual as well as group level; (2) identifying sources of variability in responsiveness to training; (3) optimizing exercise dosing strategies to maximize benefits while minimizing barriers to participation; (4) evaluating the efficacy of multimodal interventions for relevant population subgroups; and (5) increasing the clinical relevance of study populations and outcomes in exercise trials. We look forward to seeing these strategies considered in trials of preventive health interventions such as exercise. Extensive future research in this area is needed for the vision of exercise as a personalized form of medicine to become a reality.