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Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2011 May;31(3):215-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-097X.2010.01003.x. Epub 2011 Jan 10.

A single versus multiple bouts of moderate-intensity exercise for fat metabolism.

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  • 1Faculty of Sport and Health Science, Ritsumeikan University, Kusatsushi, Shiga, Japan.


This study compared the fat metabolism between 'a single bout of 30-min exercise' and 'three bouts of 10-min exercise' of the same intensity (60% maximal oxygen uptake) and total exercise duration (30 min). Nine healthy men participated in three trials: (1) a single 30-min bout of exercise (Single), (2) three 10-min bouts of exercise, separated by a 10-min rest (Repeated) and (3) rest (Rest). Each exercise was performed with a cycle ergometer at 60% of maximal oxygen uptake, followed by 180-min rest. Blood lactate concentration increased significantly after exercise in the Single and Repeated trials (P < 0.05), but the Single trial showed a significantly higher value during the recovery period (P < 0.05). No significant difference was observed in the responses of plasma glycerol concentration. The Repeated trial produced a smaller increase in the ratings of perceived exertion during the exercise (P < 0.01). During the exercise, no significant difference was observed in respiratory exchange ratio (RER) between the Single and Repeated trials. However, the RER values during the recovery period were significantly lower in the Repeated trial than in the Single and Rest trials (P < 0.05), indicating higher relative contribution of fat oxidation in the Repeated trial (P < 0.05). These results suggest that the repetition of 10-min of moderate exercise can contribute to greater exercise-induced fat oxidation compared with a single 30-min bout of continuous exercise.

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