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Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2014 Feb;24(1):211-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2012.01456.x. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Exercise for fitness does not decrease the muscular inactivity time during normal daily life.

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Neuromuscular Research Center, Department of Biology of Physical Activity, University of Jyväskylä, Finland.


The time spent in sedentary behaviors has been shown to be independent of exercise in epidemiological studies. We examined within an individual whether exercise alters the time of muscular inactivity within his/her normal daily life. Quadriceps and hamstring muscle electromyographic activities and heart rate were measured during 1 to 6 days of normal daily living of ordinary people. Of 84 volunteers measured, 27 (15 men, 12 women, 40.7 years ± 16.5 years) fulfilled the criteria of having at least 1 day with and 1 day without exercise for fitness (total of 87 days analyzed, 13.0 h ± 2.5 h/day). Reported exercises varied from Nordic walking to strength training and ball games lasting 30 min-150 min (mean 83 min ± 30 min). Exercise increased the time spent at moderate-to-vigorous muscle activity (6% ± 4% to 9% ± 6%, P < 0.01) and energy expenditure (13% ± 22%, P < 0.05). Muscular inactivity, defined individually below that measured during standing, comprised 72% ± 12% of day without and 68% ± 13% of day with exercise (not significant). Duration of exercise correlated positively to the increase in moderate-to-vigorous muscle activity time (r = 0.312, P < 0.05) but not with inactivity time. In conclusion, exercise for fitness, regardless of its duration, does not decrease the inactivity time during normal daily life. This is possible by slight modifications in daily nonexercise activities.


energy expenditure; muscle activity; old; physical activity; sedentary; young

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