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Influence of Brisk Walking on Appetite, Energy Intake, and Plasma Acylated Ghrelin


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: March 2010 - Volume 42 - Issue 3 - p 485-492
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181ba10c4
Basic Sciences

Purpose: This study examined the effect of an acute bout of brisk walking on appetite, energy intake, and the appetite-stimulating hormone-acylated ghrelin.

Methods: Fourteen healthy young males (age 21.9 ± 0.5 yr, body mass index 23.4 ± 0.6 kg·m−2, V˙O2max 55.9 ± 1.8 mL·kg−1·min−1; mean ± SEM) completed two 8-h trials (brisk walking and control) in a randomized counterbalanced fashion. The brisk walking trial commenced with 60 min of subjectively paced brisk walking on a level-motorized treadmill after which participants rested for 7 h. Participants rested for the duration of the control trial. Ad libitum buffet meals were offered twice during main trials (1.5-2 and 5-5.5 h). Appetite (hunger, fullness, satisfaction, and prospective food consumption) was assessed at 30-min intervals throughout. Levels of acylated ghrelin, glucose, insulin, and triacylglycerol were determined from plasma.

Results: Sixty minutes of brisk walking (7.0 ± 0.1 km·h−1) yielded a net (exercise minus resting) energy expenditure of 2008 ± 134 kJ, yet it did not significantly influence appetite, energy/macronutrient intake, or the plasma concentration of acylated ghrelin either during or after exercise (P > 0.05). Participants did not compensate for energy expended during walking, therefore a deficit in energy was induced (1836 kJ, 439 kcal) relative to control.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that, despite inducing a moderate energy deficit, an acute bout of subjectively paced brisk walking does not elicit compensatory responses in acylated ghrelin, appetite, or energy intake. This finding lends support for a role of brisk walking in weight management.

1Loughborough University, UNITED KINGDOM; and 2Sheffield Hallam University, UNITED KINGDOM

Address for correspondence: David J. Stensel, Ph.D., School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom; E-mail:

Submitted for publication March 2009.

Accepted for publication July 2009.

©2010The American College of Sports Medicine