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The effect of a 5-month endurance-training programme on physical activity: evidence for a sex-difference in the metabolic response to exercise.

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  • 1University of Limburg, Department of Human Biology, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


The effect of a 5-month endurance training programme on physical activity and average daily metabolic rate (ADMR) was studied. Subjects were 16 males and 16 females preparing for a half marathon. Total physical activity, measured using an accelerometer, had increased by 62% and 63% after 20 weeks in males and females, respectively. Physical activity during the non-exercise part of the day did not change although in males it tended to increase (15%, NS). The ADMR had increased significantly in males after 8 and 20 weeks (+2.3 and +3.3, respectively, P less than 0.05) and exceeded the net energy expenditure for endurance-training three to four times. In females no significant increase in ADMR was found (+1.5 and +1.3, after 8 and 20 weeks, respectively). In females the change in ADMR could be largely attributed to the net cost of running itself and a small increase (10%) in resting metabolic rate during the time of day they were awake. In males a discrepancy was observed between the increase of ADMR and the expenditure due to exercise and non-exercise activities. We suggest exercise stimulates habitual physical activity and diet-induced thermogenesis in males but not in females.

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