Lifestyle Exchange

‘If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health. – Hippocrates’

Mission Statement

To develop, and disseminate knowledge and expertise for optimal daily functioning in health and disease by exercise and nutritional interventions.

Focus area

We focus on understanding:

  • The mechanisms by which physical activity and nutrition modulates performance and health and/or disease risk;
  • Prediction of athletic and ADL performance and long-term disease outcome by cardio-pulmonary and muscular exercise testing;
  • The mechanisms how health is affected by muscle tissue use and/or disuse;
  • How therapeutic lifestyle interventions can modulate disease risk;
  • (Tele)rehabilitation and eHealth techniques to advice, treat and monitor patients.

The research theme focuses on the understanding of physical activity/exercise (and/or nutrition) on health aspects of (chronic) noncommunicable diseases, the elderly and athletes. Human movement is a shared basic principle of the research line and is underpinned in the strong collaboration with the Antwerp University Hospital (UZA).

Translational research, cohort studies and comparative effectiveness studies of non-pharmacological interventions are the sources of information, and state of the art methodology is applied.

Background

A healthy lifestyle is the basis for optimal daily functioning in health and disease. From individuals participating in elite sports to the elderly performing activities of daily living (ADLs) it is the cornerstone of a balanced healthy life. Lifestyle factors also plays an important role in the etiology and pathogenesis of the most frequent (chronic) noncommunicable diseases, like Cardiovascular dysfunction, Gastrointestinal, Liver and Pancreatic Diseases, Cancer, Stroke, Obesity, Diabetes, and Respiratory diseases but also after daily life casualties like falls, burns and headaches. Finally, it plays an important role in the development of frailty in the elderly and the underperformance (overtraining) syndrome in elite athletes.

An inappropriate lifestyle includes insufficient physical activity, hyper-, or hypocaloric food intake, inadequate stress coping, exceeding work load and little recovery time and is responsible for a significant proportion of the lifestyle related diseases.

Place within MOVANT

This research theme adds to the expertise of MOVANT by focusing on exercise physiology and lifestyle interventions in chronic diseases and sports. The multidisciplinary approach is a central aspect of the Lifestyle Exchange theme, as such close collaborations are ongoing with the research themes focusing on pathogenesis and underlying working mechanisms (ProSens), biomechanics (Motion) and quality of life (Improved Living), but also with research groups outside MOVANT.

Within MOVANT collaboration of this research theme is most pronounced with the theme ‘Improved Living’, namely on projects concerning rehabilitation of cancer patients and among others, indirect caloric analysis of burn patients. In addition, close collaborations with the themes ‘ProSens’ (e.g. on aerobic training in patients with migraine) and ‘Motion’ (e.g. on the use of a qualitative accelerometer, indirect calorimetry of children with cerebral paresis or patients with Parkinson) are ongoing. The research theme shares its knowledge, expertise and research techniques regarding ‘exercise testing / exercise diagnostics’, ‘indirect calorimetry’, ‘physical rehabilitation programs for chronic diseases’ and ‘nutrition’ to establish a solid research center MOVANT based on multidisciplinary research projects.