The effects of body position and exercise on plasma volume dynamics

  • J. M. Pivarnik
  • M. P. Goetting
  • L. C. SenayJr.


We examined the plasma volume changes associated with a protocol of either exercise or controlled rest under identical positional and ambient conditions. Nine healthy adult males rode (E) and on another occasion sat quietly (C) on a cycle ergometer for 30 min. Ten minutes of cycle exercise immediately followed the resting C protocol. Ambient temperature was 30‡ C (rh=35%) and exercise load was equal to 50% of peak \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} }\). Venous blood samples were obtained with subjects both in the supine and seated positions prior to all experiments. Additional blood was drawn during minutes 1, 5, 10, and 30 in both experimental conditions. A final sample was taken during C after the 10 min exercise. Moving from the supine to a seated position resulted in an average loss of 162 ml of plasma across all experiments. During the E condition a further reduction in plasma volume (76 ml) occurred by one minute of exercise. Plasma volume stabilized by 5 min of exercise under the E protocol. During the C condition, subsequent fluid loss (98 ml) was not apparent until 10 min after the first seated sample and totalled 176 ml at the end of 30 min of rest. Ten minutes of cycling at the end of the C experiment resulted in a further plasma volume reduction of 137 ml. Plasma protein and albumin contents decreased by 5 min of exercise in E and by 30 min of rest in C. [Na+] and [Cl−] did not change in either condition but a rapid increase in [K+] during exercise indicated an addition of potassium to the vascular volume. An hypothesis concerning the factors involved in postural and exercise body fluid shifts is presented.

Key words

Plasma proteins Human Cycle ergometer exercise Posture Blood volume 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Beaumont van WV, Underkofler S, van Beaumont S (1981) Erythrocyte volume, plasma volume, and acid-base changes in exercise and heat dehydration. J Appl Physiol 50:1255–1262Google Scholar
  2. Costill DL, Branam L, Eddy D, Fink W (1974) Alterations in red cell volume following exercise and dehydration. J Appl Physiol 37:912–916Google Scholar
  3. Costill DL, Saltin B (1974) Changes in the ratio of venous to body hematocrit following dehydration. J Appl Physiol 36:608–610Google Scholar
  4. Dahms TE, Horvath SM (1974) Rapid, accurate technique for determination of carbon monoxide in blood. Clin Chem 20:533–537Google Scholar
  5. Diaz FJ, Bransford DR, Kobayashi K, Horvath SM, McMurray RG (1979) Plasma volume changes during rest and exercise in different postures in a hot humid environment. J Appl Physiol 47:798–803Google Scholar
  6. Dill DB, Costill DL (1974) Calculation of percentage changes in volume of blood, plasma, and red cells in dehydration. J Appl Physiol 37:247–248Google Scholar
  7. Ekblom B (1970) Effect of physical training on circulation during prolonged severe exercise. Acta Physiol Scand 78:145–158Google Scholar
  8. Hagan RD, Diaz FJ, Horvath SM (1978) Plasma volume changes with movement to supine and standing positions. J Appl Physiol 45:414–418Google Scholar
  9. Hagan RD, Diaz FJ, McMurray RG, Horvath SM (1980) Plasma volume changes related to posture and exercise. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 165:155–160Google Scholar
  10. Hargens AR, Mubarak SJ, Owens CA, Garetto LP, Aheson WH (1977) Interstitial fluid pressure in muscle and compartment syndrome in man. Microvasc Res 14:1–10Google Scholar
  11. Harrison MH (1985) Effects of thermal stress and exercise on blood volume in humans. Physiol Rev 65:149–209Google Scholar
  12. Harrison MH, Edwards RJ, Cochrane LA, Graveney MJ (1983) Blood volume and protein responses to skin heating and cooling in resting subjects. J Appl Physiol 54:515–523Google Scholar
  13. Harrison MH, Edwards RJ, Graveney MJ, Cochrane LA, Davies JA (1981) Blood volume and plasma protein responses to heat acclimation in humans. J Appl Physiol 50:597–604Google Scholar
  14. Harrison MH, Edwards RJ, Leitch DR (1975) Effect of exercise and thermal stress on plasma volume. J Appl Physiol 39:925–931Google Scholar
  15. Kilburn KH (1966) Muscular origin of elevated plasma potassium during exercise. J Appl Physiol 21:675–678Google Scholar
  16. Melin B, Eclache JP, Geelen G, Annat G, Allevard AM, Jarsaillon E, Zebidi A, Legros JJ, Gharib C (1980) Plasma AVP, neurophysin, renin activity, and aldosterone during submaximal exercise performed until exhaustion in trained and untrained men. Eur J Appl Physiol 44:141–151Google Scholar
  17. McMurray RG (1983) Plasma volume changes during submaximal swimming. Eur J Appl Physiol 51:347–356Google Scholar
  18. Pollack AA, Wood EH (1949) Venous pressure in the saphenous vein at the ankle in man during exercise and changes in posture. J Appl Physiol 1:649–662Google Scholar
  19. Senay LC Jr, Pivarnik JM (1985) Fluid shifts during exercise. In: Terjung RL (ed) Exercise and sport sciences reviews. Macmillan, New York, pp 335–387Google Scholar
  20. Smith EE, Guyton AC, Manning RD, White RJ (1976) Integrated mechanisms of cardiovascular response and control during exercise in the normal human. Prog Cardiovasc Dis 18:421–443Google Scholar
  21. Thompson WO, Thompson PK, Dailey ME (1928) The effect of posture upon the composition and volume of the blood in man. J Clin Invest 5:573–604Google Scholar
  22. Waterfield RL (1931a) The effect of posture on the circulating blood volume. J Physiol (Lond) 72:100–120Google Scholar
  23. Waterfield RL (1931b) The effect of posture on the volume of the leg. J Physiol (Lond) 72:121–131Google Scholar
  24. Wells HS, Youmans JB, Miller DG, Jr (1983) Tissue pressure (intracutaneous, subcutaneous, and intramuscular) as related to venous pressure, capillary filtration and other factors. J Clin Invest 17:489–499Google Scholar
  25. Winer BJ (1971) Statistical principles in experimental design. McGraw, New York, 2 edGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Pivarnik
    • 1
  • M. P. Goetting
    • 1
  • L. C. SenayJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologySt. Louis University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations