Vigorous Exercise May Prevent Predisposed Diabetes

Male runner and dog

A Review by Alyssa Bialowas

The kidneys are an essential organ that have many functions, such as regulate the body’s fluid levels, keep blood minerals in balance (sodium, phosphorus, potassium), release a hormone that regulates blood pressure, filters waste and toxins from the blood, play a role in blood glucose regulation, and release the hormones that directs production of red blood cells. Therefore; protecting your kidney health is essential to stay free of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes, high blood pressure, nerve damage, and low red blood cell count.

Persons with impairments of glucose metabolism may be predisposed to develop type 2 diabetes, and methods such as vigorous exercise are used for prevention. This study set out to determine whether lipids and glucose metabolism are differently affected by concentric and eccentric endurance exercise.

Related Article: 5 Ways To Exercise Your Heart

The Study

16 middle-aged males (between 50 and 67 years of age) all predisposed to developing diabetes (pre-diabetic) were recruited to participate in this study. Participants were enrolled that had impaired fasting glucose and/or impaired glucose tolerance. The study consisted of two pre-test days, 9 uphill (concentric) or downhill (eccentric) walking sessions and two post-test days. At pre-testing, anthropometric measurements, exercise capacity, and measurements of glucose and lipid metabolism were taken.

Three times per week for three weeks, the subjects performed their uphill or downhill walking at maximum intensity. Also, heart rate and walking time was monitored every session for each participant.

The Results

The maximum heart rate reached during the exercise capacity test increased significantly between pre and post in the concentric group, but not in the eccentric group. The same happened in terms of improvements in glucose tolerance. However, when adjusted for energy expenditure, uphill and downhill walking had equal effects on all metabolic parameters, such as fasting plasma glucose, insulin, triglycerides, and total cholesterol.


Less than a month of steady, concentric and eccrntric endurance exercise effectively improved glucose tolerance and lipid markers in pre-diabetic men. In populations pre-disposed to developing type 2 diabetes, endurance training with steep inclines – see “HIIT Hill Workouts For Runners” and declines are useful for prevention.

Related Article: Combat Heart Problems and Diabetes with HIIT

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Burtscher, M., Dzien, A., Ebenbichler, C., Eder, E. M., Gatterer, H., Melmer, A., Muller,

T., Melmer, A., Philippe, M., & Somavilla, M. (2017). “The Effects of 3 Weeks

of Uphill and Downhill Walking on Blood Lipids and Glucose Metabolism in Pre-

Diabetic Men: A Pilot Study.” Journal of Sport Science and Medicine, 16, 35-43. 

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