Intensive exercise training during bed rest attenuates deconditioning

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997 Feb;29(2):207-15. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199702000-00007.


A 30-d 6 degrees head-down bed rest project was conducted to evaluate variable high-intensity, short-duration, isotonic cycle ergometer exercise (ITE) training and high-intensity intermittent resistive isokinetic exercise (IKE) training regimens designed to maintain peak VO2 and muscle mass, strength, and endurance at ambulatory control levels throughout prolonged bed rest. Other elements of the deconditioning (adaptive) syndrome, such as proprioception, psychological performance, hypovolemia, water balance, body composition, and orthostatic tolerance, were also measured. Major findings are summarized in this paper. Compared with response during bed rest of the no exercise (NOE) control group: the ITE training regimen (a) maintained work capacity (peak VO2), (b) maintained plasma and red cell volumes (c) induced positive body water balance, (d) decreased quality of sleep and mental concentration, and (e) had no effect on the decrease in orthostatic tolerance; the IKE training regimen (f) attenuated the decrease in peak VO2 by 50%, (g) attenuated loss of red cell volume by 40% but had no effect on loss of plasma volume, (h) induced positive body water balance, (i) had no adverse effect on quality of sleep or concentration, and (j) had no effect on the decrease in orthostatic tolerance. These findings suggest that various elements of the deconditioning syndrome can be manipulated by duration and intensity of ITE or IKE training regimens and that several different training protocols will be required to maintain or restore physiological and psychological performance of individuals confined to prolonged bed rest.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Bed Rest / adverse effects*
  • Bed Rest / psychology
  • Cardiac Output / physiology
  • Cardiac Volume / physiology
  • Cardiovascular Deconditioning / physiology*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Proprioception
  • Tilt-Table Test
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology