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Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Aug;72(2 Suppl):512S-20S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/72.2.512S.

Physical activity as a metabolic stressor.

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Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology and Health Education and Division of Nutritional Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, 78712, USA.


Both physical activity and diet stimulate processes that, over time, alter the morphologic composition and biochemical function of the body. Physical activity provides stimuli that promote very specific and varied adaptations according to the type, intensity, and duration of exercise performed. There is further interest in the extent to which diet or supplementation can enhance the positive stimuli. Prolonged walking at low intensity presents little metabolic, hormonal, or cardiovascular stress, and the greatest perturbation from rest appears to be from increased fat oxidation and plasma free fatty acid mobilization resulting from a combination of increased lipolysis and decreased reesterification. More intense jogging or running largely stimulates increased oxidation of glycogen and triacylglycerol, both of which are stored directly within the muscle fibers. Furthermore, these intramuscular stores of carbohydrate and fat appear to be the primary substrates for the enhanced oxidative and performance ability derived from endurance training-induced increases in muscle mitochondrial density. Weightlifting that produces fatigue in brief periods (ie, in 15-90 s and after 15 repetitive contractions) elicits a high degree of motor unit recruitment and muscle fiber stimulation. This is a remarkably potent stimulus for altering protein synthesis in muscle and increasing neuromuscular function. The metabolic stress of physical activity can be measured by substrate turnover and depletion, cardiovascular response, hormonal perturbation, accumulation of metabolites, or even the extent to which the synthesis and degradation of specific proteins are altered, either acutely or by chronic exercise training.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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