Sport, physical activity, and health

The Sport, Physical Activity, and Health research group

The main objective of our research is to develop evidence-based knowledge for promoting physical activity and healthy exercise in all segments of the population, from elite athletes to the general population.

Our research covers a wide range of topics, including adaptation to exercise training, health and performance among athletes, physical activity and health, disease prevention, and methods for measuring physical activity. We use a variety of research methods, including epidemiological studies, experimental studies, and methodological studies, to investigate the impact of physical activity on health across all ages. 

The Sport, Physical Activity, and Health research group is based at Idrettshøgskolen, Faculty of Health Sciences, and constitutes a network of researchers across UiT. The group is committed to interdisciplinary research and comprises members also from several other departments and faculties at UiT, including Department of Community Medicine, Department of Psychology, Department of Computer Science, Department of Education, Department of Health and Care Sciences, and Norwegian Centre for E-health Research.  

Research focus

Physical activity and health, epidemiology

Physical activity measurement

Our research is heavily based on population-based studies such as the Tromsø study, Fit FuturesSAMINOR, FinnmarksundersøkelsenHigh North Population Studies, the Birkebeiner ageing study, NHANES, the Healthy Ageing Initiative, and the HUNT study. Our main focus areas have been the associations between physical activity and cardiovascular disease, and physical activity and osteoporosis. We also collaborate with projects on physical activity and pain, physical activity and mental health, physical activity and e-health, physical activity and COPD. Publications From the commencement in 2015, our research group has worked on increasing our competence on physical activity measurement methods, mainly questionnaires and accelerometer. In Tromsø7 in 2015-16 we started the ACTIHEALTH study, which aimed to describe prevalences and trends in physical activity in the population and contribute to the development of measurement methods. The work has been conducted in close collaboration with Department of Computer Sciences at UiTPublications

Female athletes

Exercise physiology, physical performance

In 2020, the research group started two large projects on female athletes; the Female Endurance Athletes project (FENDURA) and the Female Football Research Center (FFRC)The projects aim at obtaining new insights and knowledge on performance factors that influence sustainable development and health of female elite athletes. Publications FFRC Publications FENDURA  Our researchers have extensive background and competence in exercise physiology, and a large part of our research is therefore centered around this topic, including training adaptation, exercise performance, athletic pacing, with a specific focus on cross-country skiing and football performance and health. Publications

Our main research areas are female athletes and physical activity in cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health prevention


Completed projects

Research labs

Our research group runs three state-of-the-art physiology labs, located at our Alta and Tromsø campuses, as well as at the Alfheim research and training lab. These labs are equipped with advanced measuring equipment that allows us to conduct comprehensive testing of endurance, strength, and power, providing us with valuable insights into the physiological responses to exercise and training.


Scientific publications 2013-23

Full-time positions only / All members, including professor II

PhD dissertations

Kim Arne Heitmann (2023) Physical activity and the structure and function of the left side of the heart 
Edvard Hamnvik Sagelv (2023) Physical activity, weight gain, and risk of mortality in adults
Sigurd Beldo (2021) Accelerometer-measured physical activity in Norwegian adolescents. Results from The Fit Futures Study
Sigurd Pedersen (2021) Training and influence of maximal strength in football players - With specific emphasis on females
Rune Hermansen (2020) Physical activity, cardiovascular risk factors, and mortality in ethnic groups in the Arctic region of Norway
Ivan Baptista (2020) Football training specificity - Training individualization within the collective periodization

Upcoming: Tina P. Engseth (2024) The perception of the menstrual cycle, cycle-related symptoms, and hormonal contraception in female endurance athletes: The FENDURA project
Upcoming: Andreas K. Winther (2024) Physical match performance and training loads of female football players

Media coverage

Project dissemination




Some selected news from the research group:

SkyNews: Just 22 minutes moderate exercise a day can offset negative effects of sitting down, study finds

yahoo!life: Not enough time to walk 10,000 steps? Here are two alternatives that are just as beneficial, studies say

NRK Radio: Hvordan påvirkes hjertet av fysisk aktivitet

BBC World RadioNew study on physical activity and heart attack / UiT

Latest news


Professor II

Associate members