Changes in Physical Activity across the Lifetime of Current Ultra-Endurance Exercisers

Karen Birkenhead, Geoff Lovell, Susan I. Barr, Colin Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


This study describes the physical activity across and within the lifetime of current ultra-endurance exercisers. Participants (n = 115, % female = 42, age range 21 to 74 years) completed a modified version of the Lifetime Physical Activity Questionnaire (LPAQ) to assess physical activity over six life periods (5-12, 13-18, 19-30, 31-45, 46-60 and 61-75 years). Participants then were categorised into five groups according to which of these life periods they demonstrated the largest absolute increase in ultra-endurance exercise (UEE included all running and cycling) compared to the previous life period. All groups demonstrated significant increases (p < .005) in UEE between their categorised life period of largest increase in UEE (IUEE) and the previous life period. Within groups, increases in average UEE MET-hours year-1 ranged from 144% to 402%. Lifetime exercise volumes varied considerably within groups (average lifetime MET-hrs year-1 IUEE13-18 = 3830 ± 2362; IUEE19-30 = 4358 ± 2832; IUEE31-45 = 2975 ± 1970; IUEE46-60 = 2839 ± 1721; IUEE61-75 = 3454 ± 1720) and within the entire sample (average lifetime MET-hrs year-1 = 3400 ± 2229 [range 375-12140]). This study is the first to describe the physical activity across and within the lifetime of ultra-endurance exercisers and reports that ultra-endurance exercisers exhibit significant increases in UEE within their lifetime.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Activity Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

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