This paper discusses and challenges the current opinion that exercise adaptation is generally defined by modality; resistance exercise (RE), or aerobic exercise (AE). In presenting a strong body of recent research which demonstrably challenges these perceptions we suggest alternate hypotheses towards physiological adaptation which is hinged more upon the effort than the exercise modality. Practical implications of this interpretation of exercise adaptation might effect change in exercise adherence since existing barriers to exercise of time, costs, specialized equipment, etc. become nullified. In presenting the evidence herein we suggest that lay persons wishing to attain the health and fitness (including strength and muscle hypertrophy) benefits of exercise can choose from a wide range of potential exercise modalities so long as the effort is high. Future research should consider this hypothesis by directly comparing RE and AE for acute responses and chronic adaptations.
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