Physiological Health Benefits of Physical Activity for Young People

Narelle Eather, Kate Ridley, Angus Leahy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter focuses on the physiological responses to physical activity and the associated health benefits in children and adolescents. The chapter has a specific focus on the impact of physical activity intensity on health. In the context of physical activity, physiological responses refer to how an individual’s cells, tissues, and organs adapt when they are exposed to activity of varying intensity and duration. Physiological responses to physical activity are influenced by factors such as age, sex, physical disability, and environmental conditions (Burton, Stokes, & Hall,2004; Rivera-Brown & Frontera, 2012). Exercise programs can induce varied physiological responses in individuals when the principles of training are considered and elements such as exercise frequency, intensity, duration, and mode are manipulated (Hoffman, 2002). Changes to heart rate, ventilation rate, skeletal muscle activation and energy metabolism, lactate levels,oxygen uptake, and hormonal and immune responses are typical physiological responses to aerobic and resistance exercise (Rivera-Brown & Frontera, 2012; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). The cardiovascular and respiratory systems are primarily responsible for enabling sustained movement over extended periods, with additional and specific physiological adaptations observed in these systems with long-term physical activity participation(Rivera-Brown & Frontera, 2012). The magnitude of these changes is largely contingent on the intensity and duration of the physical activity, the force or load used in training, and an individual’s baseline fitness level (Burton et al., 2004; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,1996). A reduction or cessation of physical activity or training results in the gradual loss of most physiological adaptations gained.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Youth Physical Activity
EditorsTimothy Brusseau, Stuart Fairclough, David Lubans
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781003026426
ISBN (Print)9781138331549
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2020

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks
PublisherRoutledge: Taylor and Francis Group


  • physiology
  • physical activity in children
  • health benefits
  • fitness


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