Postexercise oxygen consumption in trained females: effect of exercise duration

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994 Jul;26(7):908-13.


Many research studies report the long-lasting elevation of metabolism following exercise. However, little is known regarding the impact of duration and intensity on this phenomenon, particularly in trained women in whom the time of the menstrual cycle has been controlled. This study examined the effects of a constant walking intensity (70% of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max)) on the treadmill at various levels of duration (20, 40, and 60 min) on 3-h recovery of oxygen uptake (VO2). Eight trained (mean +/- SD) (VO2max = 47.6 +/- 3.2 females (mean age = 30.2 +/- 5.0 yr, mean weight = 58.7 +/- 7.6 kg, mean height = 165.6 +/- 7.0 cm) participated in the study. Subjects reported to the lab for a maximal oxygen consumption test and returned on four additional occasions (control, 20, 40, 60 min) in random fashion. Treadmill speed and grade were established to yield the appropriate intensity for each subject. Following each exercise bout subjects sat quietly for a 3-h time period. Variables measured included VO2, minute ventilation (VE), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and core (rectal) temperature (Tc). Variables were measured each 15 min of recovery. An ANOVA was used to assess differences due to duration. Excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) was calculated by subtracting the resting VO2 from the absolute VO2 and summing the individual EPOCs during each 3-h postexercise session and comparing these individual values to the preexercise VO2 values. The EPOC was significantly elevated (P < 0.05) in each of the three durations as compared with the control (sitting) and preexercise periods. The total EPOC was significantly higher for the 60-min duration (15.2 l) as compared with either 20-min (8.b l) or 40-min (9.8 l) duration (P < 0.05). This was observed without significant changes in VE, RER, HR, SBP, DBP, or Tc. Additionally, there were no differences during exercise across the three durations in VO2, VE, RER, HR, SBP, DBP, or Tc. These data suggest that exercise duration increases EPOC significantly and that a 60-min duration yields approximately twice the EPOC than either 20 or 40 min.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Temperature
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Pulmonary Ventilation
  • Time Factors