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April 5, 2016 Recent Events No Comments

The work of Dr. Warburton and Dr. Bredin was recently highlighted in a press release from the prestigious Canadian Journal of Cardiology. Their paper directly challenges current messaging stating that you need to attain 150 min of moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise to obtain health benefits. Their research (and that of others) has clearly demonstrated that marked health benefits can be accrued at remarkably low volumes of physical activity. Physical activity is for everyone!

Here are the details from the PRESS RELEASE:

Presently Recommended Exercise Levels May Be Much More than Needed for Significant Health Benefits

Experts Writing in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology Challenge Physical Activity Guidelines Development Groups to Update Recommendations 

Philadelphia, PA, April 4, 2016 – International physical activity guidelines generally recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity, but a critical review of the literature indicates that just half this level of activity may still lead to marked health benefits, say experts in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology. They challenge physical activity and exercise guidelines development groups to update their recommendations to reflect the evidence.

Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, accounting for approximately 3.2 million deaths annually, according to the World Health Organization. Regular physical activity is acknowledged to be an effective primary and secondary preventive strategy. The evidence points to risk reductions of at least 20-30% for more than 25 chronic medical conditions and premature mortality. However, the amount and intensity of recommended exercise are still hotly debated.

“One of the greatest myths perpetuated within physical activity promotion, the exercise sciences, and exercise medicine is the belief that you need to engage in a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity to obtain health benefits,” explained Darren E.R. Warburton, PhD, and Shannon S. Bredin, PhD, MSc, of the Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. “However, the preponderance of evidence simply does not support this contention. There is compelling evidence that health benefits can be accrued at a lower volume and/or intensity of physical activity. These health benefits are seen in both healthy and clinical populations.

“Marked health benefits can be observed in persons living with disability and/or chronic disease with volumes of activity that are well below the 150 minutes per week threshold. Unfortunately, this arbitrary threshold has too often been included in recommendations related to those living with disability and/or chronic medical conditions,” they added.

Dr. Warburton and Dr. Bredin, who were responsible for creating the systematic reviews that informed the 2011 Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for adults and older adults, attribute the recommendation of the need to reach a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity per week in Canada to a translation error introduced since the publication of those reviews. “A simple turn of phrase from ‘should’ to ‘must’ has had significant impact upon the knowledge translation of the evidence. For instance, promotional materials that state explicitly that individuals ‘must’ attain 150 minutes per week to achieve health benefits have emerged, along with other messages that imply (or explicitly state) that health benefits cannot be accrued at lower volumes of activity.”

In the current article, the authors systematically review the latest studies and recommend that:

  • Public health policies should reduce barriers to physical activity participation such that everyone can reap the benefits of physical activity
  • Physical activity/exercise promotion should be part of an integrated approach to enhance healthy lifestyle behaviors
  • The independent health risks of sedentary time (particularly sitting time) should be highlighted
  • Patients should be provided with an individualized prescription (dosage) that considers their unique characteristics and needs

“It is our sincere hope that this article will help address this significant knowledge translation error, such that all Canadians can reap the health benefits of physical activity.” they concluded. “Important, also, is the associated evidence that sedentary time (in particular sitting time) has its own health risk, even for those persons that are physically active. The simple message of ‘Move more and sit less’ is more understandable by contemporary society and based on a strong body of evidence.”

Commenting on this article, James A. Stone, MD, PhD, Clinical Professor of Medicine and Consultant Cardiologist at the University of Calgary, questioned whether these recommendations are “running on empty,” i.e., deriving clinical practice recommendations in the absence of clearly linked high-quality scientific evidence.

“Much of the pertinent information Drs. Warburton and Bredin reference in their review article has only been published in the last few years, and some of it is based on large epidemiologic studies where the available information may be less rigorously researched than the scientific evidence used to produce clinical practical guidelines recommendations,” observed Dr. Stone.

“Have the facts really changed? The argument that a lesser dose of physical activity and exercise can still return significant health benefits needs to be vetted and incorporated into evidence-informed clinical practice guidelines. The time has come to update the message regarding physical activity and exercise,” commented Dr. Stone. “However, practice implementation messages are not the same as evidence-informed clinical practice recommendations derived from high-quality evidence. More specifically, the message that some physical activity is better than none needs to be researched and validated so it can be incorporated into clinical practice guidelines. So, are current guidelines running blind? Clearly, the correct historical answer is an emphatic no. But with rapidly emerging evidence, we need to expeditiously change all clinical practice guidelines when the facts change,” he concluded.

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“Reflections on Physical Activity and Health: What Should We Recommend?” by Darren E.R. Warburton, PhD, and Shannon S. Bredin, PhD, MSc (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2016.01.024)

Editorial: “Canadian Physical Activity Clinical Practice Guidelines Running on Empty?” by James Arthur Stone, MD, PhD (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cjca.2016.01.037)

Both published online in Volume 32, Issue 4 (April 2016) of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, published by Elsevier.

Full text of these articles is available to credentialed journalists upon request. Contact Eileen Leahy at 732-238-3628 or cjcmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. Journalists who wish to speak with Dr Darren E.R. Warburton may contact him at +1 604-822-4603 or darren.warburton@ubc.ca.  Journalists who wish to reach Dr Stone for comment may contact him at jastone@shaw.ca.


The Canadian Journal of Cardiology (www.onlinecjc.ca) is the official journal of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (www.ccs.ca). It is a vehicle for the international dissemination of new knowledge in cardiology and cardiovascular science, particularly serving as a major venue for the results of Canadian cardiovascular research and Society guidelines. The journal publishes original reports of clinical and basic research relevant to cardiovascular medicine as well as editorials, review articles, case reports, and papers on health outcomes, policy research, ethics, medical history, and political issues affecting practice.


Editor-in-Chief Stanley Nattel, MD, is Paul-David Chair in Cardiovascular Electrophysiology and Professor of Medicine at the University of Montreal and Director of the Electrophysiology Research Program at the Montreal Heart Institute Research Center.


The Canadian Cardiovascular Society is the professional association for Canadian cardiovascular physicians and scientists working to promote cardiovascular health and care through knowledge translation, professional development, and leadership in health policy. The CCS provides programs and services to its 1900+ members and others in the cardiovascular community, including guidelines for cardiovascular care, the annual Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, and, with the Canadian Cardiovascular Academy, programs for trainees. More information about the CCS and its activities can be found at www.ccs.ca.


Elsevier (www.elsevier.com) is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect (www.sciencedirect.com), Scopus (www.scopus.com), Elsevier Research Intelligence (www.elsevier.com/research-intelligence), and ClinicalKey (www.clinicalkey.com) — and publishes over 2,500 journals, including The Lancet (www.thelancet.com) and Cell (www.cell.com), and more than 33,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group (www.relxgroup.com), a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com

Article has been cited more than 5600 times!

August 21, 2015 Recent Events No Comments
Article has been cited more than 5600 times!

We are extremely pleased to report that an article created by Drs. Warburton and Bredin (published in the prestigious Canadian Medical Association Journal) has now been cited over 5600 times. This article is amongst the most cited papers in the history of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

We are pleased with the reception that this article has received since its publication in 2006. We feel that this reflects clearly the importance of the health benefits of physical activity, and provides further validation for the value of the research conducted in the Physical Activity Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Unit.

A Heartfelt Goodbye to Visiting Scholar Nanu Wu!

October 24, 2014 Recent Events No Comments

On behalf of the Physical Activity Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Unit we would like to acknowledge the departure of our friend and colleague, Nana Wu. Nana visited from Shanghai (China) and became a valued and trusted member of our team. It is with mixed emotions that we say goodbye to Nana. We are happy that Nana is now able to return to her family and friends in China. However, we will certainly miss Nana.

Nana was an exceptionally hard worker taking on every opportunity afforded her. Her work ethic provided a great example to all of our trainees. She was a part of virtually every trial in our laboratory over the time that she spent in our laboratory. Nana has been a great ambassador for our Pan Pacific Trainee Exchange program.

Nana’s compassion for and ability to work with others was remarkable. This was evidenced when our entire laboratory showed up to say goodbye to Nana. There were tears all around reflecting clearly the impact that Nana had on each of us. We look forward to working with Nana in the future and sincerely hope that she will be able to continue studies at the University of British Columbia. Nana will always be welcome in our program.


Darren and Shannon

Fat Dog 100 (now Fat Dog 120) is listed as one of North America’s hardest races!

September 7, 2014 Recent Events No Comments

Competitor Magazine has recently listed Fat Dog as one of North America’s hardest races. For the full story please go to Competitor Magazine.








Photos courtesy of Heather Macdonald (Fat Dog 120).

Director, Dr. Darren Warburton Receives the CIHR/CMAJ Top Achievement in Health Research Award

March 18, 2013 Recent Events No Comments

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) honoured the work of exceptional researchers announcing the five recipients of the 2012 CIHR-CMAJ Top Achievements in Health Research Awards on March 18, 2013. The CIHR announcement for this award can found HERE. Another story from UBC can be found at this LINK.

Dr. Warburton was one of five Canadian individuals and teams honoured with the 2012 CIHR-CMAJ Top Canadian Achievements in Health Research Awards that recognize and celebrate Canadian health research and innovation excellence (1,2,3). To our knowledge, this is the first time that an exercise scientist has been awarded this honour in Canada. Dr. Warburton was further acknowledged as one of the top 2 winning achievements for this prestigious honour.

Each year, the CIHR and CMAJ host a competition to celebrate the top achievement in health research in Canada. Specifically, these awards recognize achievements that have “had a significant impact on health, health care, and health research by improving our understanding of health and human diseases, tackling health challenges, and improving our health system (1,2).” Achievements in four categories are eligible for the award: biomedical; clinical; health services; and social, cultural, environmental and population health. This award is considered to be one of the highest honours a researcher in health science and medicine can receive within Canada. An international review committee selected the five 2012 award winners.

Dr. Warburton received recognition for his significant contributions to population and public health. Specifically, Dr. Warburton was recognized for his ongoing work to promote the health benefits of physical activity and reduce the barriers to physical activity participation (including the creation of the PAR-Q+ and ePARmed-X+). It is anticipated that millions of individuals from around the world will benefit from the work of Dr. Warburton and his colleagues.

In receiving this honour Dr. Warburton acknowledged his appreciation for this prestigious honour, acknowledging the extensive research collaborators from across the world. “I am extremely proud to receive this esteemed award. It is a great privilege to be recognized by Canada’s leading health authorities, CIHR and CMAJ, for the research that we are conducting. This prestigious honour is a direct validation for the work that we are doing with a wide range of individuals and our related knowledge translation activities. I am proud of the work that we are doing with athletes, children, the elderly, and persons living with chronic disease and/or disability. I am humbled by this honour and would like to recognize the various collaborators that make our research possible. I am indebted to our trainees and collaborators from across Canada and the world. We simply would not be able to conduct our innovative work without the collaboration of a network of researchers and organizations dedicated to improving the health and well being of society. These international collaborations have allowed our research to move beyond the traditional confines of research and academia.

Congratulations Dr. Warburton!


  1. CIHR/CMAJ top achievements in health research. call for applications.Ottawa (ON): Canadian Institutes of Health Research; 2012. Available: www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/45560.html (accessed 2013 Feb. 12).
  2. CIHR–CMAJ top achievements in health research 2012. Ottawa (ON):CMAJ; 2012. Available: www.cmaj.ca/site/misc/achievements.xhtml (accessed 2013 Feb. 12
  3. Erin Russell Special Report: Celebrating top achievements in health research 2012. Canadian Medical Association Journal March 19, 2013 vol. 185 no. 5 doi: 10.1503/cmaj.130237 Available: www.cmaj.ca/content/185/5/397


International Charter on Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation: A Call for Action

March 6, 2013 Recent Events No Comments
International Charter on Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation: A Call for Action

We are delighted to report that an international initiative involving Drs. Bredin and Warburton has been warmly received including a formal publication in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention. We are delighted that Dr. Mark Williams (Editor, JCRP) has chosen to allow free access to our article that can be retrieved HERE.

The reference for the article is: Grace, S.L., Warburton, D.E.R., Stone, J.A., Sanderson, B., Oldridge, N., Jones, J., Wong, N., & Buckley, J.P. International Charter on Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation: A Call for Action. 2013;33:128-131.

If you would like to learn more about the Charter and the International Collaboration in Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (ICCPR) please visit: http://www.globalcardiacrehab.com.

The International Collaboration in Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation (ICCPR) can attribute its roots to the development of the ICCPR Charter in 2011. Over the next year a series of influential meetings were held (including in person meetings at the 2012 World Congress of Cardiology; Dubai, UAE) to identify the key aims and strategies of this international collaboration of leading experts from around the world. The International Collaboration in Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation was officially formed at the World Congress of Cardiology on April 19, 2012.

The ICCPR calls to action cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation organizations and established associations around the world to partner and collaborate with those responsible for administering patient care:

1) To establish cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation as an obligatory, not optional service.

2) To support both low-to-middle and high-income countries to establish and augment, respectively, programs of cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation (adapted to local needs and conditions) to ensure broader access to these proven services

We aim to maintain and grow this consortium through partnership with international organizations, to consider and communicate on-going consensus on evidence-based standards for cardiovascular prevention and rehabilitation.

Funding for this initiative was originally provided to Dr. Darren Warburton, Dr. Shannon Bredin, Dr. Sherry Grace, and collaborators from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


Congratulations to Taylor Drury on his Acceptance to Medical School

September 7, 2012 Recent Events No Comments

A heartfelt congratulations to Taylor Drury (MSc 2012) on his acceptance to Medical School. We are extremely proud of Taylor’s accomplishments.

Congratulations to Dr. Jamie Burr

July 8, 2012 Recent Events No Comments

Sincere congratulations to Dr. Jamie Burr (Post-Doc) on his faculty appointment at the University of Prince Edward Island. We wish him continued success.

Dr. Bredin wins the 2011 Award of Excellence from the University of Alberta

August 26, 2011 Recent Events No Comments
Dr. Bredin wins the 2011 Award of Excellence from the University of Alberta

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Bredin has received another honour for her contributions. Dr. Bredin has received the 2011 Award of Excellence from the University of Alberta (http://www.alumni.ualberta.ca/en/Celebrate/AlumniAwards/AwardExcellence.aspx). A heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Bredin for this prestigious honour recognizing “specific, recent accomplishments of University of Alberta graduates.” An excerpt from her biographical description for this award is presented below:

“Shannon S. D. Bredin, ’96 BPE, ’96 BEd, ’98 MSc, has quickly established herself as a leader in the field of physical activity and health, where she is conducting pioneering research.  A leader in community-based initiatives, she was the project lead in the innovative telehealth program, the Physical Activity Line (www.physicalactivityline.com), Canada’s free resource for evidence-based physical activity information. She was a principal investigator on the Getting Games Fit program for the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, and she is the founder and director of the Cognitive and Functional Learning Laboratory at UBC.  In recognition of her many contributions, this assistant professor at the University of British Columbia has received many honours, including the prestigious Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) Health and Fitness Program Recognition Award in 2010.”

The New PAR-Q+ and ePARmed-X+

August 5, 2011 Recent Events No Comments

We are pleased to announce that the background systematic review papers for the new PAR-Q+ and ePARmed-X+ have been published in Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism. The entire series of articles have been published online, and are open access for everyone to be able to download.


The new PAR-Q+ and ePARmed-X+ are also available. Please be sure to check out www.eparmedx.com and the Health & Fitness Journal of Canada for these resources.

A sincere thank you to all of the authors, students, staff, and volunteers that gave so much of their time to this worthy endeavour. It is anticipated that over 50 million individuals worldwide will make use of the new risk stratification strategy, which serves to reduce the barriers to physical activity participation for everyone.