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Am J Physiol. 1999 May;276(5):G1221-6. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.1999.276.5.G1221.

Effects of acute graded exercise on human colonic motility.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


Whether physical exercise stimulates colonic motility is unclear. Our aim was to determine the immediate effects of graded exercise on colonic motility. Colonic motility was recorded at six sites in 11 untrained subjects, by colonoscopically placing a solid-state probe. Subjects were free to ambulate. The next day, subjects exercised on a bicycle at 25, 50, and 75% of peak oxygen uptake for 15 min, with each followed by a 15-min rest. Motor patterns, motility indexes, and regional variations before, during exercise, during rest, and during postexercise periods were compared. During exercise, there was an intensity-dependent decrease (P < 0.001) in the number and area under the curve of pressure waves. The incidence of propagated or simultaneous pressure waves and cyclical events also decreased (P < 0.05). After exercise, the pressure activity reverted to baseline, but the number and amplitude of propagated waves increased (P < 0.01), whereas the simultaneous waves and cyclical events remained lower. Acute graded exercise decreases colonic phasic activity. This may offer less resistance to colonic flow, whereas the postexercise increase in propagated activity may enhance colonic propulsion.

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