PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to compare physiological and perceptual responses to progressive moderate intensity continuous exercise (MICE) between leg (LCE) and arm cycle ergometry (ACE). METHODS: Seventeen active men and women (age and percent body fat = 26 ± 7 yr and 18 ± 3 %) initially performed graded exercise on each modality to assess maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and peak power output (PPO). Using a randomized crossover design, they subsequently performed 45 min of MICE consisting of three 15 min bouts at 20, 40, and 60 % PPO on each modality. Gas exchange data (VO2, VCO2, VE, and respiratory exchange ratio (RER), heart rate (HR), blood lactate concentration (BLa), affective valence, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were acquired during each bout. RESULTS: Compared to ACE, LCE revealed significantly higher (p < 0.05) peak (94 ± 6 vs. 88 ± 9 %HRmax, d = 0.81) and mean HR (73 ± 6 vs. 66 ± 6 %HRmax, d = 1.20) and VO2 (54 ± 5 vs. 50 ± 7 %VO2max, d = 0.68). Time spent above 70 (22 ± 7 vs. 15 ± 8 min, d = 1.03) and 80 %HRmax (15 ± 6 vs. 9 ± 6 min, d = 1.04) was significantly greater with LCE versus ACE. LCE revealed significantly higher BLa versus ACE (5.5 ± 2.0 vs. 4.7 ± 1.5 mM, d = 0.48). CONCLUSIONS: These results exhibit that progressive leg cycling at identical intensities elicits a greater cardiometabolic stimulus than arm ergometry. Moreover, leg cycling leads to greater duration spent at intensities between 70 – 89 %VO2max which may have application to selecting specific exercise modes when prescribing MICE to increase cardiorespiratory fitness. Lastly, use of %PPO led to participants being classified in different intensity domains which merits prescribing MICE according to various threshold measures rather than relative intensities acquired from incremental exercise.



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