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The influence of physical activity on BMR


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 1996 - Volume 28 - Issue 1 - p 85-91
Basic Sciences/Regulartory Physiology: Original Investigations

In addition to factors such as fat free mass, hormonal status, genetics and energy balance, previous physical activity has been shown to influence energy turnover during resting (RMR = resting metabolic rate) or basal conditions(BMR = basal metabolic rate). This article presents data on BMR from elite endurance athletes (4 female and 4 male), at least 39 h after their last training session, in comparison with sedentary nonathletic controls matched for sex and fat free mass (FFM). Comparisons with theoretical calculations of BMR were also made. The athletes were shown to have a significantly higher BMR than was expected from calculations based on body mass (16%, P < 0.05) or body composition (12%, P < 0.05). There were no corresponding differences found in the nonathletic control group. The athletes had a 13% higher (P < 0.001) BMR than controls if related to FFM and 16% (P = 0.001) if related to both FFM and fat mass (FM). The athletes were also found to have 10% lower R-values (P < 0.01) indicating higher fat oxidation. The conformity of these findings with the present literature and the possible mechanisms behind them as well as its influence on theoretical calculations of energy turnover (ET) based on activity factors expressed as multiples of RMR are further discussed.

Department of Nutrition, Uppsala University, and PhysTest Scandinavia AB, Uppsala, SWEDEN; and Department of Human Biology, University of Limburg, Maastricht, THE NETHERLANDS

Submitted for publication January 1995.

Accepted for publication September 1995.

The authors would like to express their gratitude to the subjects for their cooperation, to Elisabeth Börsheim for fruitful discussions and constructive criticism, to Inger Winkler for secretarial help, and to Carina Boväng and Charlotte Berglund for their assistance during the measurements.

The study was financially supported by Procordia AB and PhysTest Scandinavia AB.

The study was performed at Department of Nutrition, Dag Hammarskjöldsväg 21, S-75237 Uppsala, Sweden.

Address for correspondence: Anders Sjödin, Department of Nutrition, Dag Hammarskjöldsväg 21, S-75237 Uppsala, Sweden.

©1996The American College of Sports Medicine