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Multiple short bouts of exercise are better than a single continuous bout for cardiometabolic health: a randomised crossover trial

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Purpose: To compare cardiometabolic responses to five consecutive days of daily postprandial exercise accumulated in three 10-min bouts or a single 30-min bout to a no-exercise control. Methods: Ten insufficiently active adults completed three trials in a randomised order. Each trial comprised five consecutive days of 30 min of exercise either accumulated in three separate 10-min bouts (ACC) after main meals; a single 30-min bout after dinner (CONT); or a no-exercise control (NOEX). Glucose regulation was assessed from an oral glucose tolerance test. Applanation tonometry was used to assess pulse wave velocity approximately 12 h following completion of the final trial. Results: Area under the 2-h glucose curve was similar for CONT (mean; 95% CI 917 mmol L−1 2 h−1; 815 to 1019) and ACC (931 mmol L−1 2 h−1; 794 to 1068, p = 0.671). Area under the 2-h insulin curve was greater following NOEX (70,328 pmol L−1 2 h−1; 30,962 to 109,693) than ACC (51,313 pmol L−1 2 h−1: 21,822 to 80,806, p = 0.007). Pulse wave velocity was lower for ACC (5.96 m s−1: 5.38 to 6.53) compared to CONT (6.93 m s−1: 5.92 to 7.94, p = 0.031) but not significantly lower for ACC compared to NOEX (6.52 m s−1: 5.70 to 7.34, p = 0.151). Conclusion: Accumulating 30 min of moderate-intensity walking in three bouts throughout the day is more effective at reducing markers of cardiometabolic health risk in insufficiently active, apparently healthy adults than a single daily bout. Both accumulated and single-bout walking were equally as effective at reducing postprandial glucose concentrations compared to a no-exercise control. Therefore, accumulating exercise in short bouts after each main meal might be more advantageous for overall cardiometabolic health.

Funding

This study was made possible by funding received from the La Trobe University Sport Exercise and Rehabilitation Research Focus Area. Philip Shambrook was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Programme Scholarship.

History

Publication Date

01/11/2020

Journal

European Journal of Applied Physiology

Volume

120

Issue

11

Pagination

9p. (p.2361–2369)

Publisher

Springer Nature

ISSN

1439-6319

Rights Statement

© 2020 Springer Nature Accepted manuscript. Users may view, print, copy, download and text and data-mine the content, for the purposes of academic research, subject always to the full conditions of use. https://www.nature.com/nature-portfolio/editorial-policies/self-archiving-and-license-to-publish#terms-for-use Any further use is subject to permission from Springer Nature.