Associations between acute and chronic effects of exercise on indicators of metabolic health: a pilot training trial

PLoS One. 2013 Nov 21;8(11):e81181. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081181. eCollection 2013.


Background: The interindividual variability in the health-related efficacy of regular endurance training is high. This impedes on the individual optimization of preventive training prescriptions when optimal efficacy is intended. As a consequence, health-gains remain below what could be achieved. Practicable predictors of an individual's responsiveness to physical exercise would offer a solution to this problem. Therefore, the present study aims to test the association of acute changes in indicators of metabolic health after an exhaustive exercise test and the respective chronic changes in response to an endurance training program.

Methods: Fasting blood samples of healthy, untrained, non-smoking subjects (n=12, age 49 ± 7 years; body mass index 29 ± 4; maximum oxygen uptake 34 ± 7 ml · min(-1) · kg(-1)) were collected before and 1 hour after an exhaustive exercise test as well as after a 4 week supervised training period (walking / running 4 times per week at 60 % heart rate reserve).

Results: A close linear relationship between acute and chronic changes could be demonstrated for insulin concentration (p=0.001; r=0.83), the fasting indicator of insulin sensitivity HOMA-IR (p<0.001; r=0.78) and non-esterified fatty acid concentration (p=0.001; r=0.88). No association became apparent for standard blood lipid parameters.

Conclusion: It is concluded that the magnitude of acute exercise-induced changes in indicators of insulin sensitivity and non-esterified fatty acid concentration is a promising candidate for the prediction of chronic training induced changes in the respective parameter. However, further studies are needed to assess predictive accuracy.

Trial registration: NCT00934206

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Test
  • Exercise*
  • Health*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Compliance
  • Physical Endurance
  • Physical Exertion
  • Pilot Projects


  • Lactic Acid

Associated data


Grant support

The study has been supported by the HOMFOR (Homburger Forschungsförderungsprogramm) program (Saarland University, Faculty of Medicine). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.