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The idea that exercise can burn calories not only during the exercise bout itself but also in the hours following exercise by increasing metabolic rate has been around for a while. However a study published in the Sept 2011 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise is the first to actually measure this extra metabolic activity in a metabolic chamber.

Ten young healthy males (age 22-33) were locked in the metabolic chamber for 24 hours on two separate days. On one day after completing a 45 minute high intensity bout of cycling (57% max intensity) and on the other day after doing no exercise. Physical activities in the chamber were strictly controlled to be the same on both days so as not to affect the results.

The 45 minute cycling bout expended an average of 519kcal and afterwards in the metabolic chamber the subjects resting metabolic rate was raised for a further 14 hours compared to the rest day. This resulted in the expenditure of another 190kcal after exercise which represents another 37% on top of the 519kcal used during the actual exercise.

Reference

Knab AM et al. A 45-Minute Vigorous Exercise Bout Increases Metabolic Rate for 14 Hours. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Feb 8

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