A Roadmap for the Future of Exercise Science: Key Research Directions
Symposium — Sunday, April 23, 2017 — 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM — , Room W375A
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) — Chair: Claude Bouchard — Co-Chair:
Physical activity exerts powerful effects on overall health and well-being, and its absence can produce undesirable physiological and clinical consequences. Despite the many benefits resulting from regular exercise, the molecular mechanisms by which physical activity prevents common diseases and favors a longer longevity remain poorly understood. A better understanding of these underlying mechanisms has the potential to illuminate why regular exercise is so important for disease prevention and health in general, and will likely uncover novel molecular and cellular therapeutic targets for disease prevention and treatment. It will contribute to a stronger foundation for the development of personalized exercise medicine approaches. This whole area of research has been recently buoyed by the announcement that the NIH approved a Common Fund program to catalog molecular transducers of physical activity in humans and to begin exploring their functions. The Symposium on A Roadmap for the Future of Exercise Science begins with an introduction aimed at clarifying the context and the content of the program. It will be followed by a presentation of research on exercise and the brain covering animal studies, epidemiological studies, and human randomized controlled trials about the relationship between exercise and cognitive and brain health across the lifespan. Data from brain imaging studies and acute and chronic exercise will be highlighted. A discussion on gaps in our knowledge and how we might go about filling them will be introduced. The second presentation will be on exercise and the heart and will highlight how exercise has a powerful impact on the cardiovascular system and its role in the prevention of heart disease. Yet our understanding of the mechanisms by which exercise provides these benefits remains limited. Future studies should benefit greatly from rigorously performed, well-powered multi-omic studies conducted on appropriate animal models and exercise interventions in humans. The last presentation will deal with exercise and skeletal muscle. It will discuss what has been recently found regarding the role of acute and chronic exercise on skeletal muscle structure and functions. It will also highlight research opportunities related to skeletal muscle function, metabolism and integration with other tissues in health, aging and disease. Utilizing an integrative and holistic approach, future exercise science research will offer a unique opportunity to address critical life science questions aimed at deciphering the molecular mechanisms that underlie the acute and adaptive responses to physical activity. Such advances hold enormous potential for human health and medicine.