Exercise-induced oxidative stress: past, present and future

Scott K. Powers*, Zsolt Radak, Li Li Ji

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

247 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: The existence of free radicals in living cells was first reported in 1954 and this important finding helped launch the field of free radical biology. However, the discovery that muscular exercise is associated with increased biomarkers of oxidative stress did not occur until 1978. Following the initial report that exercise promotes oxidative stress in humans, many studies have confirmed that prolonged or short-duration high intensity exercise results in increased radical production in active skeletal muscles resulting in the formation of oxidized lipids and proteins in the working muscles. Since these early descriptive studies, the investigation of radicals and redox biology related to exercise and skeletal muscle has grown as a discipline and the importance of this research in the biomedical sciences is widely recognized. This review will briefly summarize the history of research in exercise-induced oxidative stress and will discuss the major paradigm shifts that the field has undergone and continues to experience. We conclude with a discussion of future directions in the hope of stimulating additional research in this important field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5081-5092
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sept 15
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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