Document Type




Format of Original

10 p.; 28 cm

Publication Date



American College of Sports Medicine

Source Publication

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise

Source ISSN




Pain reports are greater with increasing weight status, and exercise can reduce pain perception. It is unknown, however, whether exercise can relieve pain in adolescents of varying weight status. The purpose of this study was to determine whether adolescents across weight status report pain relief after high-intensity aerobic exercise (exercise-induced hypoalgesia (EIH)).


Sixty-two adolescents (15.1 ± 1.8 yr, 29 males) participated in the following three sessions: 1) pressure pain thresholds (PPT) before and after quiet rest, clinical pain (McGill Pain Questionnaire), and physical activity levels (self-report and ActiSleep Plus Monitors) were measured, 2) PPT were measured with a computerized algometer at the fourth finger’s nailbed, middle deltoid muscle, and quadriceps muscle before and after maximal oxygen uptake test (V˙O2max Bruce Treadmill Protocol), and 3) body composition was measured with dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.


All adolescents met criteria for V˙O2max. On the basis of body mass index z-score, adolescents were categorized as having normal weight (n = 33) or being overweight/obese (n = 29). PPT increased after exercise (EIH) and were unchanged with quiet rest (trial × session, P = 0.02). EIH was similar across the three sites and between normal-weight and overweight/obese adolescents. Physical activity and clinical pain were not correlated with EIH. Overweight/obese adolescents had similar absolute V˙O2max (L·min−1) but lower relative V˙O2max (mL·kg−1·min−1) compared with normal-weight adolescents. When adolescents were categorized using FitnessGram standards as unfit (n = 15) and fit (n = 46), the EIH response was similar between fitness levels.


This study is the first to establish that both overweight and normal-weight adolescents experience EIH. EIH after high-intensity aerobic exercise was robust in adolescents regardless of weight status and not influenced by physical fitness.


Accepted version. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, Vol. 47, No. 11 (November 2015): 2431-2440. DOI. © American College of Sports Medicine, 2015. Used with permission.