Based on our PPP Botnia study, that was carried out in the Ostrobothnia region; we found out that nearly 70% of men and 50% of women had either poor or severely poor physical condition. Those with poor physical condition, often had also impaired glucose tolerance, metabolic syndrome i.e. impaired blood lipid values, abdominal obesity and elevated blood pressure.
In this intervention study, we examined the impact of a 12-month exercise program on metabolism and on risk factors related to cardiovascular diseases on individuals with poor physical condition. 291 participants took part in the study. Half of the study participants, training group, exercised in a group (Nordic Walking, water gymnastic, strength training) twice a week during two months period. Other half, the control group, received personal exercise counseling but exercised independently. All participants kept an exercise diary.
The aim of this study was to examine how changes in exercise habits and in physical condition affect metabolic risk factors and glucose metabolism. In addition, we studied how the prevalence of diabetes in family members affect the individual’s exercise outcomes. Part of the training group participated also a study that examined muscle energy metabolism and hereditary factors. This study was executed by taking a biopsy with a needle from the thigh muscle and subcutaneous fat before the study and after the training period (muscle biopsy). From the muscle biopsy, we examined the amount and function of albumin protein that are important for muscle energy metabolism.
In addition, we compared the development of the fitness index among the training group and those who exercised independently (control group).
The study included oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), blood samples (for insulin-, lipid- and gene analyses) and exercise test (walk test) before the study and 1, 2, 3 and 5 years after basal visit and training period. In addition, questionnaires were used to examine the changes in life style and in perceived health status. Before the training period and after one year, the energy consumption of the participants was monitored with the help of registering body movements and pulse-level, using a combined accelero- and pulse meter (Actiheart).