Short-term effects of repetitive arm work and dynamic exercise on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity

Acta Physiol Scand. 2005 Apr;183(4):345-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-201X.2005.01407.x.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Epinephrine / blood
  • Ergometry / methods
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Lactates / blood
  • Leptin / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Norepinephrine / blood
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin
  • Interleukin-6
  • Lactates
  • Leptin
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Glucose
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine