Association between Bout Duration of Physical Activity and Health: Systematic Review

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PurposeThis study aimed to conduct a systematic literature review to determine whether physical activity episodes of <10 min in duration have health-related benefits or, alternatively, if the benefits are only realized when the duration of physical activity episodes is ≥10 min.MethodsThe primary literature search was conducted for the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report and encompassed literature through June 2017, with an additional literature search conducted to include literature published through March 2018 for inclusion in this systematic review.ResultsThe literature review identified 29 articles that were pertinent to the research question that used either cross-sectional, prospective cohort, or randomized designs. One prospective cohort study (N = 4840) reported similar associations between moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and all-cause mortality when examined as total MVPA, MVPA in bouts ≥5 min in duration, or MVPA in bouts ≥10 min in duration. Additional evidence was identified from cross-sectional and prospective studies to support that bouts of physical activity <10 min in duration are associated with a variety of health outcomes. Randomized studies only examined bouts of physical activity ≥10 min in duration.ConclusionsThe current evidence, from cross-sectional and prospective cohort studies, supports that physical activity of any bout duration is associated with improved health outcomes, which includes all-cause mortality. This may suggest the need for a contemporary paradigm shift in public health recommendations for physical activity, which supports total MVPA as an important lifestyle behavior regardless of the bout duration.

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