Background: It has been shown that basal metabolic rate (BMR) decreases with age. The extent to which some of the decrease can be reversed by exercise in older men and women is unclear. Resistance exercise has been shown to significantly increase muscle mass in older individuals, and because muscle is a highly active metabolic tissue there is potential to increase BMR as a secondary outcome to the training adaptation.
Methods: Twelve healthy men aged 59-77 years performed single-leg knee extension exercise (right and left leg) and bench press lifts (16 sets, 10 reps/set with timed recovery between sets) at 75% of the individual's 3RM. Subjects only performed the concentric phase of the lift. BMR was measured on two separate occasions, once after a nonexercise control period and again 48 hrs after a bout of resistance exercise.
Results: BMR was significantly increased (p < .006) 48 hrs after exercise (EX) compared to control (CON) (284.0 +/- 34.0 vs 274.9 +/- 34.0 kJ/hr, respectively). Calculated over a 24-hour period, the energy expenditure corresponded to 1570 +/- 193 and 1627 +/- 193 kcal/24 hr (p < .0002) for the CON and EX measures, respectively. VO2 (L/min) was higher (p < .0002) 48 hrs after the EX bout compared to 48 hrs post-CON (0.232 +/- 0.03 vs 0.225 +/- 0.03 L/min, respectively).
Conclusion: We conclude that in healthy 59-77-year-old men, an acute bout of resistance exercise causes a sustained increase in BMR that persists for up to 48 hours after exercise.