Hormonal responses to exercise in girls during sexual maturation

J Physiol Pharmacol. 1998 Mar;49(1):121-33.


The dependence of hormonal responses to exercise on sexual maturation was tested in three-year longitudinal experiment on 34 girls (11-12 years old at the beginning of the study). Sexual maturation of the girls was evaluated using Tanner scale. Girls were divided into three groups: maturation stages 1-2, 2-4 and 4-5. Children performed a 20-min cycle exercise at 60% of maximal oxygen uptake (VO max) once a year. Cortisol, insulin, somatotropin, beta-estradiol, progesterone and testosterone were determined in venous blood by RIA procedures. High basal levels of beta-estradiol and somatotropin appeared in stages 2-4 (387 +/- 92 pmol.l-1) and 12.9 +/- 2.85 ng.ml-1, respectively) and 4-5 (358 +/- 54 pmol.l-1) and 14.3 +/- 1.53 ng.ml-1, respectively). The basal progesterone level increased with maturation, testosterone appeared in the blood in stages 2-4 and 4-5. The exercise resulted in increased levels of cortisol and somatotropin, and a drop in insulin in all girls. The cortisol response was most pronounced in stage 1-2. Postexercise insulin concentration was the highest in stage 4-5. beta-estradiol level increased by 23% in stages 1-2 and 4-5, while the response was insignificant in stages 2-4. Exercise-induced progesterone increase was significant in stage 4-5. In conclusion, sexual maturation associates with several quantitative changes in exercise-induced hormonal responses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hormones / blood*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Menarche / physiology
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology*


  • Hormones