Aim: To determine whether repetitive arm work, with a large component of static muscle contraction alters glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.
Method: Euglycemic clamps (2 h) were started in ten healthy individuals 15 min after 37 min periods of: (1) repetitive arm work in a simulated occupational setting; (2) dynamic concentric exercise on a cycle ergometer at 60% of VO(2max) and (3) a resting regime as a control. During the experimental periods, blood samples were collected, blood pressure was measured repeatedly and electrocardiogram (ECG) was recorded continuously. During the clamps, euglycemia was maintained at 5 mmol l(-1) and insulin was infused at 56 mU m(-2) min(-1) for 120 min.
Results: The insulin-mediated glucose disposal rate (M-value) for the steady-state period (60-120 min) of the clamp, tended to be lower following arm work than for both cycling and resting regimes. When dividing the steady-state period into 20-min intervals, the insulin sensitivity index (ISI) was significantly lower for arm work compared with the resting control situation between 60-80 min (P = 0.04) and 80-100 min (P = 0.01), respectively. Catecholamines increased significantly for arm work and cycling compared with resting regime. Data from heart rate variability (HRV) measurements indicated significant sympathetic activation during repetitive arm work.
Conclusion: The results indicate that repetitive arm work might acutely promote insulin resistance, whereas no such effect on insulin resistance was produced by dynamic concentric exercise.