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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997 Aug;29(8):1028-35.

Exercise mode and gender comparisons of energy expenditure at self-selected intensities.

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  • 1Center for Exercise and Applied Human Physiology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 87131, USA.


The purpose of this study was to compare oxygen consumption (VO2) and energy expenditure after 20 min of self-selected submaximal exercise for four modes of exercise. Eighteen subjects (9 male and 9 female) first completed a test of VO2max during treadmill running. On separate days, subjects then completed 20 min submaximal treadmill running (TR), simulated cross-country skiing (XC), cycle ergometry (CE), and aerobic riding (AR) exercise. Total VO2 and energy expenditure were significantly higher for TR than all other modes for both males and females (43.6 +/- 10.4, 39.1 +/- 9.7, 36.1 +/- 7.6, 28.4 +/- 6.1 LO2, for TR, XC, CE, and AR, respectively, P < 0.0001). For males and females, heart rate was similar during TR and XC and lower during CE and AR (154.8 +/- 14.2, 152 +/- 13.1, 143.4 +/- 14.9, and 126.2 +/- 12.0 beats.min-1 for TR, XC, CE, and AR, respectively, P < 0.0001). Compared with females, males had significantly greater VO2 (P < 0.005) and energy expenditure (P < 0.004), while females had higher heart rates (P < 0.003). Ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) were not different between TR, XC, and CE, but were significantly lower during AR (13.4 +/- 1.3, 13.6 +/- 0.8, 13.2 +/- 0.9, and 12.6 +/- 1.0 for TR, XC, CE, and AR, respectively, P < 0.003). TR elicited the greatest VO2 and energy expenditure during self-selected exercise despite and RPE similar to XC and CE. Therefore, treadmill exercise may be the modality of choice for individuals seeking to improve cardiorespiratory endurance and expend a larger number of kjoules.

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