Effects of exercise on plasma lipids and metabolism of lactating women

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995 Jan;27(1):22-8.


To examine the effects of exercise on plasma lipids and metabolism during lactation, sedentary, exclusively breast-feeding women were randomly assigned to an exercise (E) or control (C) group at 6-8 wk postpartum. E subjects performed aerobic exercise 45 min.d-1, 5 d.wk-1, for 12 wk. Resting metabolic rate (RMR), energy expenditure, body composition, and dietary intake were measured at 6-8, 12-14, and 18-20 wk postpartum. Maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max), postprandial insulin, glucose, and thermic response, and plasma lipid levels were measured at 6-8 and 18-20 wk. VO2max increased by 25% vs 5% in the E vs the C group, respectively (P < 0.0001). RMR was similar between groups and did not change over time. Weight and percent body fat declined (P < 0.01) during the study, but there was no difference between E and C groups. Exercise marginally increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (P < 0.08), but did not affect other lipid concentrations. Insulin response decreased as VO2max increased (P = 0.05). There was no effect of time or group on glucose or thermic response. Exercise improves cardiovascular fitness during lactation, but does not increase the rate of postpartum weight loss.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adult
  • Basal Metabolism / physiology
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology
  • Breast Feeding
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Diet
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lactation / physiology*
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Weight Loss


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Insulin
  • Lipids