Varied Aerobic Intensity Effects on Hormonal, Anthropometric, and Health Changes


The purpose of this project was to examine the effects of a 20-week training study, which included varied aerobic exercise intensity and identical resistance and flexibility training, on circumference, body mass, hormonal, health/fitness and psychophysical measures. Methods: Thirty-two of 40 recruited overweight middle-aged women were randomized into two training groups: low-intensity (LOW: -40% VO2peak and high-intensity (HIGH: -80% VO2peak), for a 20-week training program. Participants were weighed, measured, underwent VO2peak graded exercise tests, and had blood drawn pre-training and at 10- and 20-weeks. Results: Both groups experienced significant body mass loss at 10- and 20-weeks (LOW: p < 0.05; p < 0.01 and HIGH: p < 0.001 and p < 0.01 respectively) and circumference loss (10-weeks—LOW: waist, hip, and thigh regions (p < 0.001); HIGH: arm (p < 0.05), waist (p < 0.05), hip (p < 0.01), thigh (p < 0.05); 20-weeks—LOW: arm, waist, hip, thigh (p < 0.001); HIGH: arm, hip, thigh (p < 0.001) and waist (p < 0.01)). Ghrelin levels were elevated in the LOW group (p < 0.05) by the end of the 20-weeks of training, whereas the HIGH group had a significant decrease (p < 0.01) at that time. Over the training period, leptin concentrations diminished significantly in both groups (LOW p < 0.01; HIGH p < 0.05) and were correlated to the body mass/ anthropometric changes. Discussion: Both low- and high-intensity produced significant loss in body mass and circumference measurements suggesting that it is not the intensity of exercise, but rather overall energy expenditure that should be considered. The advantage of high-intensity aerobic exercise is that it requires less time to produce the desired energy expenditure. The changes in ghrelin and leptin may have contributed to the energy intake during laboratory trials.

Share and Cite:

C. Wuorinen, E. , Cowens, K. , Wuorinen, S. , LeClerc, S. and Wuorinen, J. (2014) Varied Aerobic Intensity Effects on Hormonal, Anthropometric, and Health Changes. Open Journal of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 4, 36-48. doi: 10.4236/ojmip.2014.43005.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Flegal, K.M., Carroll, M.D., Ogden, C.L. and Curtin, L.R. (2010) Prevalence and Trends in Obesity among US Adults, 1999-2008. Journal of the American Medical Association, 303, 235-241.
[2] National Center for Health Statistics (2010) NHANES Reference Manuals and Reports. Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, CDC. CDC Vital Signs: Adult Obesity, 1-4.
[3] World Health Organization Statistics. World Health Organization, Washington DC.
[4] American Heart Association Web Site [Internet] (2012) Understanding the American Obesity Epidemic. American Heart Association, Dallas. [Cited 2012 Nov. 1].
[5] Garber, C.E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M.R., Franklin, B.A., Lamonte, M.J., Lee, I.M., et al. (2011) Quanitity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43, 1334-1359.
[6] Thompson, D.A., Wolfe, L.A. and Eikelboom, R. (1988) Acute Effects of Exercise Intensity on Appetite in Young Men. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 20, 222-227.
[7] Trapp, E.G., Chisholm, D.J., Freund, J. and Boutcher, S.H. (2008) The Effects of High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise Training on Fat Loss and Fasting Insulin Levels of Young Women. International Journal of Obesity, 32, 684-691.
[8] Woo, R., Garrow, J.S. and Pi-Sunyer, F.X. (1982) Voluntary Food Intake during Prolonged Exercise in Obese Women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 36, 478-484.
[9] Whybrow, S., Hughes, D.A., Ritz, P., Johnstone, A.M., Horgan, G.W., King, N., et al. (2008) The Effect of an Incremental Increase in Exercise on Appetite, Eating Behavior, and Energy Balance in Lean Young Men and Women Feeding Ad libitum. British Journal of Nutrition, 100, 1109-1115.
[10] Foster-Shubert, K.E., Alfano, C.M., Duggan, C.R., Xiao, L., Campbell, K.L., Kong, A., et al. (2012) Effect of Diet and Exercise, Alone or Combined, on Weight and Body Composition in Overweight-to-Obese Postmenopausal Women. Obesity, 20, 1628-1638.
[11] Slentz, C.A., Duscha, B.D., Johnson, J.L., Ketchum, K., Aiken, L.B., Samsa, G.P., et al. (2004) Effects of the Amount of Exercise on Body Weight, Body Composition, and Measures of Central Obesity: STRIDDE—A Randomized Controlled Study. Archives of Internal Medicine, 164, 31-39.
[12] Wang, X., Lyles, M.F., You, T., Berry, M.J., Rejeski, W.J. and Nicklas, B.J. (2008) Weight Regain Is Related to Decreases in Physical Activity during Weight Loss. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, 40, 1781-1788.
[13] Scheid, J.L., De Souza, M.J., Leidy, H.J. and Williams, N.I. (2011) Ghrelin but Not Peptide YY Is Related to Change in Body Weight and Energy Availability. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise, 43, 2063-2071.
[14] Cummings, D.E., Purnell, J.O., Frayo, R.S., Schmidova, K., Wisse, B.E. and Weigle, D.S. (2001) A Preprandial Rise in Plasma Ghrelin Levels Suggests a Role in Meal Initiation in Humans. Diabetes, 50, 1714-1719.
[15] Broom, D.R., Batterham, R.L., King, J.A. and Stensel, D.J. (2009) Influence of Resistance and Aerobic Exercise on Hunger, Circulating Levels of Acylated Ghrelin, and Peptide YY in Healthy Males. American Journal of Physiology, 296, R29-R35.
[16] King, J.A., Wasse, L.K., Ewens, J., Crystallis, K., Emmanuel, J., Batterham, R.L., et al. (2011) Differential Acylated Ghrelin, Peptide YY3-36, Appetite, and Food Intake Responses to Equivalent Energy Deficits Created by Exercise and Food Restriction. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 96, 1114-1121.
[17] Considine, R.V., Considine, E.L., Williams, C.J., Hyde, T.M. and Caro, J.F. (1996) The Hypothalamic Leptin Receptor in Humans: Identification of Incidental Sequence Polymorphisms and Absence of the db/db Mouse and fa/fa Mutations. Diabetes, 45, 992-994.
[18] Riediger, T., Bothe, C., Becskei, C. and Lutz, T.A. (2004) Peptide YY Directly Inhibits Ghrelin-Activated Neurons of the Arcuate Nucleus and Reverses Fasting-Induced c-Fos Expression. Neuroendocrinology, 79, 317-326.
[19] Potteiger, J.A., Jacobsen, D.J., Donnelly, J.E. and Hill, J.O. (2003) Glucose and Insulin Responses Following 16 Months of Exercise Training in Overweight Adults: The Midwest Exercise Trial. Metabolism, Clinical and Experimental, 52, 1175-1181.
[20] Rosenbaum, M., Goldsmith, R., Bloomfield, D., Magnano, A., Weimer, L., Heymsfield, S., et al. (2005) Low-Dose Leptin Reverses Skeletal Muscle, Autonomic, and Neuroendocrine Adaptations to Maintenance of Reduced Weight. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 115, 3579-3586.
[21] Hill, A.J. and Blundell, J.E. (1982) Nutrients and Behavior: Research Strategies for the Investigation of Taste Characteristics, Food Preferences, Hunger Sensations and Eating Patterns in Man. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 17, 203- 212.
[22] Grediagin, A., Cody, M., Rupp, J., Benardot, D. and Shern, R. (1995) Exercise Intensity Does Not Effect Body Composition Change in Untrained, Moderately Overfat Women. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 95, 661-665.
[23] Woo, R., Garrow, J.S. and Pi-Sunyar, F.X. (1982) Effect of Exercise on Spontaneous Calorie Intake in Obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 36, 470-477.
[24] Pi-Sunyar, F.X. (1996) A Review of Long-Term Studies Evaluating the Efficacy of Weight Loss in Ameliorating Disorders Associated with Obesity. Clinical Therapy, 18, 1006-1035.
[25] Ueda, S.Y., Yoshikawa, T., Katsura, Y., Usui, T., Nakao, H. and Fujimoto, S. (2009) Changes in Gut Hormone Levels and Negative Energy Balance during Aerobic Exercise in Obese Young Males. Journal of Endocrinology, 201, 151-159.
[26] Finlayson, G., Bryant, E., Blundell, J.E. and King, N.A. (2009) Acute Compensatory Eating Following Exercise Is Associated with Implicit Hedonic Wanting for Food. Physiology and Behavior, 97, 62-67.
[27] Stubbs, R.J., Sepp, A., Hughes, D.A., Johnstone, A.M., King, N., Horgan, G., et al. (2002) The Effect of Graded Levels of Exercise on Energy Intake and Balance in Free-Living Women. International Journal of Obesity, 26, 866-869.
[28] Yusuf, S., Hawken, S., Ounpuu, S., Dans, T., Avezum, A., Lanas, F., et al. (2004) Effect of Potentially Modifiable Risk Factors Associated with Myocardial Infarction in 52 Countries (the INTERHEART Study): Case-Control Study. The Lancet, 364, 937-952.
[29] Petursson, H., Sigurdsson, J.A., Bengtsson, C., Nilsen, T.I. and Getz, L. (2011) Body Configuration as a Predictor of Mortality: Comparison of Five Anthropometric Measures in a 12-Year Follow-Up of the Norwegian HUNT2 Study. PLoS ONE, 6, e26621.
[30] Price, G.M., Uauy, R., Breeze, E., Bulpitt, C.J. and Fletcher, A.E. (2006) Weight, Shape, and Mortality Risk in Older Persons: Elevated Waist-Hip Ratio, Not High Body Mass Index, Is Associated with a Greater Risk of Death. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 84, 449-460.
[31] Jurimae, J. and Jurimae, T. (2007) Plasma Adiponectin Concentration in Healthy Pre- and Post-Menopausal Women: Relationship with Body Composition, Bone Mineral and Metabolic Variables. American Journal of Physiology, 293, E642-E647.
[32] Grundy, S.M., Barlow, C.E., Farrell, S.W., Vega, G.L. and Haskell, W.L. (2012) Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Metabolic Risk. American Journal of Cardiology, 109, 988-993.
[33] King, N.A., Lluch, A., Stubbs, R.J. and Blundell, J.E. (1997) High Dose Exercise Does Not Increase Hunger or Energy in Free Living Males. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 51, 478-483.
[34] Amin-Shokravi, F., Rajabi, R. and Ziaee, N. (2011) Exercise Effects on Risk of Cardiovascular Disease among Iranian Women. Asian Journal of Sports Medicine, 2, 37-43.
[35] US Department of Health and Human Services (2008) Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report, 2008. ODPHP Publication No. U0049, Washington DC, 683 p.
[36] Cummings, D.E. and Overduin, J. (2007) Gastrointestinal Regulation of Food Intake. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 117, 13-23.
[37] Broom, D.R., Stensel, D.J., Bishop, N.C., Burns, S.F. and Miyashita, M. (2007) Exercise-Induced Suppression of Acylated Ghrelin in Humans. Journal of Applied Physiology, 102, 2165-2171.
[38] Deighton, K., Barry, R., Connon, C.E. and Stensel, D.J. (2013) Appetite, Gut Hormone and Energy Intake Responses to Low Volume Sprint Interval and Traditional Endurance Exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 113, 1147-1156.
[39] Borer, K.T., Wuorinen, E., Ku, K. and Burant, C. (2009) Appetite Responds to Changes in Meal Content, Whereas Ghrelin, Leptin, and Insulin Track Changes in Energy Availability. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 94, 2290-2298.
[40] Ravussin, E., Tschop, M., Morales, S., Bouchard, C. and Heiman, M.L. (2001) Plasma Ghrelin Concentration and Energy Balance: Overfeeding and Negative Energy Balance Studies in Twins. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 86, 4547-4551.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.