Exercise training lowers the resting metabolic rate of Zebra Finches, Taeniopygia guttata



  • 1 Although changes in the mass and biochemistry of vertebrate locomotory muscle are established responses to exercise training, the effects of training on resting metabolic rate (RMR) are not clear. Here, a sustained flight training regime was shown to lower both the night-time and day RMR of captive Zebra Finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Training also reduced fat reserves and overall body mass.
  • 2 Our results are largely consistent with the effects of an elevated energy expenditure on night-time RMR detected in a study of workload on Zebra Finches but contrast with most studies of humans, where exercise training increases or has no effect upon RMR.
  • 3 A compensatory lowering of RMR in response to increased physical activity may be an artefact of captivity and could be dependent upon the activity levels of the captives concerned.
  • 4 It is suggested that when extrapolating from cage bird studies to wild situations, consideration should be given to the physical condition of the caged individuals being used.
  • 5 Variation in physical fitness may account for some of the unexplained variation in comparative studies of basal metabolism.