Design of the Month

Rest and exercise

The following quotation is taken from page 18 of the New Scientist of 28 July 2007.

"Less pain, more gain" may become the new mantra for gym junkies. Taking a break during your workout may result in you burning more fat than the same amount of exercise without a break, according to a report from Kazushige Goto of the University of Tokyo, Japan, and his colleagues (Journal of Applied Physiology, DOI:10.1152/japplphysiol.01302.2006).

They studied seven men with an average age of 25. On different days, the men did no exercise, exercised on stationary bikes for 1 hour, or exercised at the same intensity for two half-hour periods separated by a 20-minute rest. During the rest period, levels of free fatty acids in the men's blood increased rapidly, indicating that stored fat was being mobilised. The fatty acid levels were also higher in the second half-hour of exercise if this followed a rest period than when it was part of a continuous bout, and remained higher during the hour after exercise had finished.

  1. What were the experimental units and how many of them were there?
  2. What were the treatments and how many of them were there?
  3. Exactly what was measured?
  4. How do you think the experiment was designed?
  5. Can you improve on the design?

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