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Enhanced parasympathetic activity of sportive women is paradoxically associated to enhanced resting energy expenditure

      Abstract

      The resting energy expenditure and the adaptation of the autonomic nervous system induced by sport activities in sedentary women and in female professional basketball players have been studied. Resting energy expenditure, body composition and the level of activity of the autonomic nervous system were measured before and after a period of six months. The physical activity induced an increase in resting energy expenditure and free fat mass without variations in body weight. Basketball players showed a significant increase in the parasympathetic activity, measured by the power spectral analysis of the heart rate variability.
      These findings demonstrate that resting energy expenditure is higher in the athletes than in sedentary women, despite the augmented parasympathetic activity that is usually related to lower energy expenditure.

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