SULM – Schweizerische Union für Labormedizin | Union Suisse de Médecine de Laboratoire | Swiss Union of Laboratory Medicine

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H. Drexel1 , G. Loruenser1 , P. Langer1 , T. Marte1 , S. Aczel1 , C. Wielander1 , C.H. Saely1

1Vorarlberg Institute for Vascular Investigation and Treatment (VIVIT), Feldkirch, Austria

Background: Skeletal muscle can be exercised by two ways: Concentric contraction is defined as active shortening of muscles, e.g. by stepping upwards, whereas eccentric muscle contraction is defined as active resistance to stretching, e.g. by stepping downwards. There are no data on the specific metabolic effects of concentric versus those of eccentric muscle work in humans.
Methods: Forty-five healthy sedentary non-diabetic volunteers were allocated randomly to two groups, one beginning with 2 months of concentric, the other with 2 months of eccentric exercise, followed by a cross-over for further 2 months. Patients were advised to exercise from 3 to 5 times a week. The exercise comprised a steady upward/downward hike over a difference in altitude of 510 meters. For the way back, a cable car was used. Compliance to the exercise regimen was measured by electronic records from the cable car tickets. At baseline and after each exercise period a full metabolic profile including an oral fat tolerance test and an oral glucose tolerance test was obtained.
Results: Compared to baseline, the area under the triglyceride curve was significantly lowered only along with concentric exercise (by 11.0%; p = 0.037). LDL cholesterol was reduced significantly both along with concentric (by 10.2%; p < 0.001) and eccentric exercise (8.9%; p = 0.001). The area under the glucose curve was improved by 4.5% (p = 0.145) along with concentric exercise, and by 8.2% (p = 0.027) along with eccentric muscle exercise.
Conclusions: Both concentric and eccentric muscle training have favourable effects on both lipid and glucose metabolism. In healthy sedentary individuals eccentric muscle training improves glucose tolerance more than concentric muscle training. Because many diabetic individuals are not able to perform concentric muscle exercise, eccentric muscle exercise should be tested as an exercise modality for diabetic patients.


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