Prolonged daytime exercise repeated over 4 days increases sleeping heart rate and metabolic rate

Can J Appl Physiol. 2003 Aug;28(4):616-29. doi: 10.1139/h03-047.


The aim of this study was to determine the influence of prolonged exercise repeated for 4 days on sleeping heart rate (SHR) and metabolic rate (SMR). Eleven young untrained men exercised at moderate intensity 5 hrs daily for 4 days, alternately on a cycle ergometer (57.0 +/- 1.3% .VO2max) and a treadmill (64.7 +/- 1.6% .VO2max). They spent the night prior to the exercise period (control, C) and the 4 nights following exercise days (N1 to N4) in room calorimeters for the measurement of SHR, SMR, and respiratory quotient (RQ) from midnight until 6 a.m. Every morning, before the exercise bouts, plasma-free epinephrine (E) and norepinephrine (NE) levels were measured. After exercise, all SHR values were significantly higher than at C level (52 +/- 1 bpm, p < 0.001) and the highest value was observed on N2 (61 +/- 2 bpm). SMR increased by 11.2 +/- 1.5% from C to N1, p < 0.001, and then plateaued up to N4, whereas RQ decreased from C (0.833 +/- 0.009) to N2 (0.798 +/- 0.005) and then plateaued. Plasma NE levels were higher the morning after each day of exercise and peaked on N2, whereas no significant variations were found for E. Variations of SHR between C and N2, and N3 and N4 were correlated with changes of SMR. No significant relationships were found between morning plasma NE, and either SMR or SHR variations. To conclude, prolonged exercise repeated for 4 days was associated with increases in SHR and SMR during the night following each day of exercise concomitantly with an enhanced lipid oxidation. The sustained stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system may be partly responsible for these effects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Catecholamines / blood*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Respiration
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Catecholamines