Lung volumes during low-intensity steady-state cycling

T. G. Babb, J. R. Rodarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The use of inspiratory capacity (IC) to estimate end-expiratory lung volume (EELV) during exercise has been questioned because of the ption of constant total lung capacity (TLC). To investigate lung volumes during low-intensity steady-state cycling, we measured EELV by the open-circuit N2 washout method (MR-1, currently Sensormedics 2100) in eight healthy men while at rest and during unloaded and 60-W cycling. TLC was calculated by adding EELV and IC. Measurement variation of TLC was 142 ml at rest, 121 ml during unloaded cycling, and 158 ml during 60-W cycling. TLC did not differ significantly among the three conditions studied. EELV decreased during unloaded (P < 0.002) and 60-W cycling (P < 0.001) compared with rest. End-inspiratory lung volume increased only during 60-W cycling (P = 0.03). The decrease in EELV accounted for 100% of the increase in tidal volume during unloaded cycling. Although minute ventilation was similar in the subjects during unloaded cycling, we noted that breathing patterns varied among the subjects. The increase in respiratory frequency was negatively correlated to the change in tidal volume (R2 = 0.54,P = 0.038) and to the change in end-inspiratory lung volume (R2 = 0.68, P = 0.012). We conclude that TLC does not differ significantly during low-intensity steady-state cycling and that use of IC to estimate changes in EELV is appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)934-937
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991


  • breathing pattern
  • exercise

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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