Effects of Continuous Versus Intermittent Exercise, Obesity, and Gender on Growth Hormone Secretion

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Abstract

Context:

Obesity attenuates spontaneous GH secretion and the GH response to exercise. Obese individuals often have low fitness levels, limiting their ability to complete a typical 30-min bout of continuous exercise. An alternative regimen in obese subjects may be shorter bouts of exercise interspersed throughout the day.

Objective:

The objective of the study was to examine whether intermittent and continuous exercise interventions evoke similar patterns of 24-h GH secretion and whether responses are attenuated in obese subjects or affected by gender.

Design:

This was a repeated-measures design in which each subject served as their own control.

Setting:

This study was conducted at the University of Virginia General Clinical Research Center.

Subjects:

Subjects were healthy nonobese (n = 15) and obese (n = 14) young adults.

Interventions:

Subjects were studied over 24 h at the General Clinical Research Center on three occasions: control, one 30-min bout of exercise, and three 10-min bouts of exercise.

Main Outcome Measures:

Twenty-four hour GH secretion was measured.

Results:

Compared with unstimulated 24-h GH secretion, both intermittent and continuous exercise, at constant exercise intensity, resulted in severalfold elevation of 24-h integrated serum GH concentrations in young adults. Basal and pulsatile modes of GH secretion were attenuated both at rest and during exercise in obese subjects.

Conclusions:

The present data suggest that continuous and intermittent exercise training should be comparably effective in increasing 24-h GH secretion.

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