The relative significance of physical exercise, energy and sleep deprivation for the morning levels of hormones and the endocrine response to short-term bicycle exercise were investigated in 24 male cadets during a 5-day military training course. Significant increases in the morning levels of noradrenaline, adrenaline, and dopamine, and a decrease in PRL were ascribed mainly to physical strain. Cortisol and hGH increased, whereas insulin and glucose decreased mainly due to energy deficiency. Pulse rate after the bicycle test was unchanged and similar in all groups in spite of increased catecholamine responses. The increased catecholamine response was mainly due to physical strain. The cortisol response to the bicycle test was increased in all groups, and energy deficiency caused slower postexercise recovery. The incremental hGH response to the exercise test was unchanged in the energy-deficient subjects but abolished in the wellfed subjects. The results suggest that the endocrine responses during long-lasting exhausting strain were mainly due to physical exertion and energy deficiency, whereas sleep deprivation did not play any major role.
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