Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine ( 2017 ) 16 , 35 - 43

Research article
The Effects of 3 Weeks of Uphill and Downhill Walking on Blood Lipids and Glucose Metabolism in Pre-Diabetic Men: A Pilot Study
Marc Philippe1,2, , Hannes Gatterer2, Erika Maria Eder2, Alexander Dzien4, Matthias Somavilla5, Andreas Melmer3, Christoph Ebenbichler3, Tom Müller6, Martin Burtscher2
Author Information
1 Department of Sports Medicine, Institute of Sports Sciences, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany
2 Department of Sport Science, Medical Section, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
3 Department of Internal Medicine I, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
4 Internal Medicine, Medical Center Hentschelhof, Innsbruck, Austria
5 General Medicine, Praxisgemeinschaft Dr. Somavilla, Fulpmes, Austria
6 Kueser Akademie für Europäische Geistesgeschichte, Mathematische Sektion, Bernkastel-Kues, Germany

Marc Philippe
✉ Department of Sports Medicine, Institute of Sports Sciences, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Kugelberg 62, 35394 Giessen, Germany
Email: marc.philippe@sport.uni-giessen.de
Publish Date
Received: 12-10-2016
Accepted: 22-12-2016
Published (online): 01-03-2017
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ABSTRACT

The prevention of type 2 diabetes in persons at risk for diabetes is of utmost importance. Physical activity in general and even exercises at moderate intensities such as walking significantly reduce the risk of the development of type 2 diabetes. However, it is still a matter of debate whether lipids and glucose metabolism are differently affected by regular concentric (e.g., uphill walking) and eccentric (e.g., downhill walking) endurance exercise. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of short-term (3 weeks) uphill and downhill walking on glucose metabolism and blood lipids in pre-diabetic middle-aged men in a real world setting. The study was designed as an investigator-initiated 2 group random selection pre-test post-test trial. Sixteen pre-diabetic men (age: 56.9 ± 5.1 years; BMI: 28.1 ± 2.3 kg·m-2) performed 9 uphill (n = 8) or 9 downhill (n = 8) walking sessions within 3 weeks. The primary outcomes were the markers of glucose metabolism and blood lipids measured before and after the training period. After uphill walking glucose tolerance (area under the curve of the oral glucose tolerance test: -43.25 ± 53.12 mg·dl-1; p = 0.05; effect size: 0.81), triglycerides (-48.75 ± 54.49 mg·dl-1; p = 0.036; effect size: 0.89), HDL-C (+7.86 ± 9.54 mg·dl-1; p = 0.05; effect size: 0.82) and total cholesterol/HDL-C ratio (-0.58 ± 0.41; p = 0.012; effect size: 1.39) had significantly improved. No significant metabolic adaptations were found after downhill walking. However, when adjusted for estimated energy expenditure, uphill and downhill walking had equal effects on almost all metabolic parameters. Moreover, the magnitude of the baseline impairments of glucose tolerance was significantly related to the extent of change in both groups. Depending on the fitness level and individual preferences both types of exercise may be useful for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and disorders in lipid metabolism.

Key words: Impaired glucose tolerance, concentric exercise, eccentric exercise, insulin resistance


           Key Points
  • In contrast to downhill walking, 3 weeks of uphill walking effectively improved glucose tolerance and most of the measured lipid markers in pre-diabetic men
  • However, when considering the related estimated energy expenditure both types of walking could possibly have equal effects
  • Moreover, persons with more pronounced impairments of the glucose metabolism benefited from both training regimens
  • Thus, depending on the fitness level and individual preferences both types of exercise may be useful for the prevention of type 2 diabetes and disorders in lipid metabolism
 
 
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