Exercise, Cardiometabolic Health and Reproduction (EXCAR) Research Group

The Exercise, Cardiometabolic Health and Reproduction (EXCAR) Research Group aims to develop exercise training strategies to prevent lifestyle related diseases. We have a special focus on exercise as medicine in order to improve fertility and pregnancy outcome.

EXCAR was established in January 2015 with a grant from the Liaison Committee between the Central Norway Regional Health Authority and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The group is headed by Trine Moholdt.


Improving reproductive function in women with polycystic ovary syndrome by high intensity interval training (IMPROV-IT)

Running on treadmillPolycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age. In this study we assess whether regular exercise training can improve menstruation frequency and metabolic health in PCOS patients.

We have just started to enrol participants in this study.

Exercise Training in Pregnancy for overweight/obese women (ETIP).

Illustration of pregnancy and pregnant woman running on treadmillIn this study, we will assess if regular exercise training in pregnancy reduces gestational weight gain. Women with body mass index (BMI) of 28 or more are randomly allocated into two groups; one exercise group and one control group.

We will also assess the general health of the mothers-to-be, including their fitness, blood pressure, glucose tolerance, body composition and vascular function.

The participants are assessed at early pregnancy, late pregnancy and three months after giving birth. In the newborn, we measure weight, length, body composition and also take blood samples from the umbilical cord.

The ETIP study started in 2010 and has just finished recruitment of participants. We are now working on analysing the data and planning the follow-up assessment of the children when they are 4-5 years old.


Increasing success rate after assisted fertilisation by exercise in women with high BMI (FertilEX)

IVF under microscope.This is a study where we assess whether 10 weeks of high intensity interval exercise prior to assisted fertilisation will improve the pregnancy rate of women with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher.

Participants are randomly allocated to either an exercise training group, or to a control group receiving standard clinical care before assisted fertilisation.

This study is on-going.

Comparing two different interval training programmes

Graphs showing 10x1 and 4x4 intervall trainingWe are comparing two different interval training programmes with women aged 18-45 years.

The participants will be matched on age, height and weight with participants of another study. The exercise period is 16 weeks with 3 sessions per week. The study will be conducted at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU, and has been approved by the Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics.


Main national collaborators:

  • Siv Mørkved, Professor, Department of Public Health, NTNU
  • Eszter Vanky, Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children’s and Women’s Health, NTNU
  • Liv Bente Romundstad, Post doctor, Department of Public Health, NTNU
  • Vidar von Düring, Chief physician, Fertility Section, St.Olav’s University Hospital
  • Sigrun Kjøtrød, Associate professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children’s and Women’s Health, NTNU
  • Siri Ann Nyrnes, Researcher, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, NTNU
  • Charlotte Björk Ingul, Researcher, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, NTNU

Main international collaborators:

  • Helen Jones, Reader, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, UK
  • John Hawley, Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Steen Larsen, Assistant Professor, Section of Systems Biology Research, University of Copenhagen, Denmark


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