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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1987 Sep;63(3):978-81.

Gastrointestinal transit during mild exercise.

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Physiology Section, Indiana University, Bloomington 47405.


Although exercise is often recommended as therapy for constipation, almost nothing is known of the effects of exercise on rates of movement of material in the gastrointestinal tract. In this study we investigated the influence of mild exercise on transit of a liquid meal from the mouth to the large intestine. Orocecal transit time was determined by a consistent elevation of H2 concentration in a rebreathing apparatus after ingestion of 30 g lactulose; the lactulose was part of a 360-kcal, 350-ml liquid meal. Comparison of transit time was made, in 12 young healthy subjects, between seated rest and a treadmill walk at 5.6 km/h up a 2% grade. The walk elevated heart rate from 64 +/- 4 to 109 +/- 5 beats/min, O2 uptake (VO2) from 0.29 +/- 0.02 to 1.20 +/- 0.07 l/min STPD, and final rectal temperature from 37.0 +/- 0.1 to 38.3 +/- 0.1 degrees C (all P less than 0.01). Exercise speeded transit of the liquid meal, with mean rises in H2 concentration taking place 66 +/- 10 min after ingestion at rest, compared with 44 +/- 6 min after food intake during exercise (P less than 0.02). H2 concentrations in the rebreathing apparatus showed similar base lines in the two experiments, and quantitative increases in H2 concentration, although shifted in time by exercise, were otherwise identical. Subjects with the slowest resting transit rates showed the largest exercise effects (r = 0.79, P less than 0.05). These results indicate that mouth-to-cecum transit of at least the first portion of a liquid meal-based nonabsorbable carbohydrate marker is significantly accelerated during mild exercise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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