Several authors have suggested that estrogen may serve to protect skeletal muscle from exercise-induced damage. The present study examined the effects of regularly ingesting estrogen, in the form of oral contraceptives, on postexercise muscle damage following a bench-stepping regimen. Women currently ingesting oral contraceptives (OC) were compared with eumennorheic controls (CG). All subjects performed a 50-min stepping exercise during the midluteal phase of their menstrual cycle. Muscle damage was evaluated on 2. 3. and 5 days postexercise using several established indirect indicators: perceived soreness, strength and range of motion changes, girth measurements, and creatine kinase (CK) activity. Subjects on OC reported significantly lower quadriceps soreness (p <0.05) relative to the CG (peak soreness = 4.0 and 7.8, respectively, on a scale of 1-10 where 1 is normal and 10 is very, very sore). These results indicate that oral contraceptive use attenuates soreness following an exhaustive stepping activity but cannot support a relationship between estrogen ingestion and other indices of exercise- induced muscle damage.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Reproductive Medicine
- Obstetrics and Gynecology