MOJ ISSN: 2374-6920MOJPB

Proteomics & Bioinformatics
Research Article
Volume 4 Issue 6 - 2016
Continuous and Interval Training Exercise Programme: its Relationship with Biochemical Parameters among Some Nigerian Undergraduates
Uadia PO1 and Ifie JE2*
1Department of Biochemistry, University of Benin, Nigeria
2Department of Biochemistry, Kampala International University, Tanzania
Received: November 26, 2016| Published: December 20, 2016
*Corresponding author: Ifie JE, Department of Biochemistry, Kampala International University, Tanzania, Tel: +2347064970409; Email:
Citation: Uadia PO, Ifie JE (2016) Continuous and Interval Training Exercise Programme: its Relationship with Biochemical Parameters among Some Nigerian Undergraduates. MOJ Proteomics Bioinform 4(6): 00138. DOI: 10.15406/mojpb.2016.04.00138


The importance of exercise and fitness in the management of diabetes has dominated the scientific research space in recent years. This present study therefore emphasizes the advances and facts relating metabolic stress hormones, diabetes and exercise. Twenty apparently healthy Nigerian students whose mean age was 23.67±2.78 years, mean heights 1.77±0.84m and average body weight 66.26±7.53kg participated in the study with internal training exercise programme for six weeks and continuous for the last two weeks. The testosterone, cortisol and Gamma Glutamyltransferase (GGT) levels were increased while the insulin level decreased although only cortisol and testosterone mean differences were significant after the exercise. From the result, it can be concluded that continuous and internal training exercise programmes are effective in managing stress-induced pathological (degenerative) diseases. Exercise is therefore recommended as a non-pharmacological adjunct in managing some metabolic syndrome such as non-insulin dependent diabetes and obesity among Nigerian students who are to an extent prone to stress.

Keywords: Physical activity; Insulin; Cortisol; Non-insulin dependent diabetes; Obesity


There are several studies in the research space trying to reveal the relationship between exercise, age and their various metabolic modifications in blood profiles [1]. These facts on relationship among blood parameters and their variations are usually in relation to the stress level and relatively the type of exercise done by the individuals [2]. It was reported by Hussamettin & Evrim [3] that there is improved physiological and physical features of an organism during exercise training programmes performed for three weeks. The variations in physiological changes that result from exercise depend on the intensity and durations of the exercise training performance [4]. Students have been observed to be highly susceptible to stress and its relative pathological conditions due to the kind of foods they eat and the environment [5]. It has also been documented that the risk of type 2 diabetes is possibly due to increase in BMI and promoted by obesity especially resulting from sedentary lifestyles [6]. Diabetes is a heterogeneous group of syndrome characterized by the elevation of fasting blood glucose which can be as a result of relative or absolute deficiency of insulin as seen in type 1 or insulin resistance (insensitivity) as seen in type 2 [7].

Physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and well-being [8,9]. This has been shown to be performed for various reasons including but not limited to increasing growth and development as well as for the prevention of ageing, strengthening of muscles and achieving positive effects on body metabolism [10]. Exercise can be interval training or continuous training with the interval training involving a combination of rounds of jogging and then resting maybe by way of walking within a timed interval [11]. The essence of which is to allow the body to have a maximum recovery periods which are specified in terms of duration, distance or both [12]. The continuous training exercise programme involves a low to moderate exercise intensity without resting intervals or recovery periods [13]. It is essentially used to prepare the body for sustained workouts and improve overall fitness and endurance [14].

Cortisol is a hormone that have documented for its ability to help the human body respond to stress through its role in intermediary metabolism such as the stimulation of gluconeogenesis, lipid oxidation and protein metabolism in order to make fuel in the form of energy available to relieve the stress [15]. Testosterone has also been implicated in growth of muscle mass and strength notwithstanding its importance in the development of positive bone density [16]. The importance of insulin in the modification of the activities of various enzymes implicative of the carbohydrate, protein and lipid metabolism cannot be overemphasized [17]. Nevertheless, the insensitivity of cells to its presence is pathological [18] and has been shown to be positively correlated with increased accumulation of body fats and obesity [6]. Similarly, the type of lifestyle (active or sedentary) mediates the fitness and wellbeing of that individual [19]. Sedentary lifestyles tend to increase the likelihood of the development of insulin resistance due to weight gain whereas, physical activities tends to reduce this possibility [19]. Though various effects of some sort of physical activities on some hormones and glucose regulations have documented, there remains a gap and this study therefore sought to investigate the interdependence and correlation between certain stress hormones, blood glucose regulation and a feedback from exercise.

Materials and Method


Twenty apparently healthy Nigerian students whose mean age was 23.67±2.78 years, mean heights 1.77±0.84m and average body weight 66.26±7.53kg from the Department of Biochemistry University of Benin, Nigeria participated in the study. Subjects were randomly selected and consented to participating in the exercise programme. Subjects who were known to be actively involved in any known structural regular exercise protocols or training programmes were excluded.

Exercise protocol

These training programmes were performed in the early hours (5:30am-7:00am) of the day for 3days in a week. The subjects were made to perform muscle flexibility exercise as a build up to the track field jogging with recovery periods (interval exercise programme) during the first six weeks and continuous exercise programme for the next two weeks.

Biochemical analysis

Blood was collected from each consenting student the first day before the commencement of the exercise programme (control) and at the end of the programme (subjects) at the Biochemistry laboratory Department, University of Benin Teaching Hospital. Blood samples were centrifuged at 1200Xg for 5mins at room temperature (29-31 ͦC) and the supernatants were stored frozen for biochemical analysis. The methodology described by HO et al. [20] was used to determine the blood level of cortisol using ELISA (EIA-1887). The insulin concentration was determined using the method described by Reaven [21]. Gamma GlutamylTransferase was assayed using method described by Cabrera-Abreu & Green [22]. Testosterone assay was carried out in a solid phase by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) as described by Eric et al. [23].

Statistical analysis

Paired students T-test and Pearson’s coefficient of correlation were used to analyze the data obtained with the levels of significance set at α=0.05(P=5%).


Results obtained for this study are presented in Tables 1 & 2.

Biochemical Parameters

Pre-Exercise (Control)

Post-Exercise (Test)


Cortisol (nmol/l)


Insulin (u/ml)












Table 1: Shows the effect of exercise on biochemical parameter. Values are expressed as mean ± SDÌ… for “n” subjects.
*Significantly different when compared to control subjects
†Mean higher values when compared to test subjects.

All mean values were higher in post-exercise subjects with the exception of insulin (insulin: 5.88±2.58 and 3.40±2.20 for control and test respectively) with Cortisol and testosterone statistically significant (Cortisol: tcal=2.546, testosterone: tcal=2.735, insulin: tcal=1.240, GGT: tcal=1.657 and tcrit(0.05,2,20)=2.021).


Pre-Exercise Control

Post Exercise Test







Table 2: Correlation of Cortisol and insulin concentration of subjects before and after exercise programme.

Values are expressed as mean ± SD for “n” subjects.

*Statistical significant correlation when compared to Cortisol in post exercise subjects. † Mean higher values when compared to test subjects.

Insulin and Cortisol showed a negative correlation when compared pre-exercise and post exercise although only post-exercise showed a statistical significance (pre-exercise: rcal=-0.015, rcrit(0.05,2,20)=0.362 and post-exercise: rcal= -0.8662, rcrit(0.05,2,20)=0.362).


Result of this study showed that significant difference was observed in testosterone and Cortisol levels (p≤0.05) in test group when compared to control while only insulin showed a mean higher value for control (pre-exercise) groups compared to the post exercise groups (Table 1). A negative correlation was also observed between cortisol and insulin levels among post-exercising samples (Table 2) and this result aligns with report by Mohammed et al. [24] and Hakonsen et al. [25]. The effects of exercise and various training programmes on various neuro-endocrine secretion as well as glucose regulation at different times of the day have been investigated and documented [26]. Cortisol level increases as exercise workload increases and exercise induce decrease in plasma glucose at about 50% while cortisol levels were minimal. The insulin insensitivity was observed to decrease after rigorous exercise which is in concordance with the report given by Henriksson [27] and Tamura, et al. [19].

The result of this study may not be unconnected to the stimulation of certain stressor hormones during aerobic exercise. During this period of exercise, the fast moving muscles demand for more oxygen which acts as the final electron acceptor in the oxidative phosphorylation pathway occurring in the mitochondria, more glucose is required for breakdown to supply the extra ATP needed by the fast moving muscles. The exercise generates a stress signal transmitted to the brain to stimulate certain neuro-endocrines known as “stress hormones” which are capable of helping the body during the period of stress [17]. This explains the increase in Cortisol and testosterone level in the post exercise subjects plasma samples as these hormones function in response to stress ,acting to increase blood glucose level for oxidation by the rapidly metabolizing fast moving muscles. When the continuous training sets in, the exercise becomes more vigorous and so the oxidation tends to be anaerobic as the NADH (electron acceptor in oxidative phosphorylation) gets depleted, the TCA cycle is slowed down. To regenerate NADH, NAD+ is used up in anaerobic pathway(lactic acid),and in this case glycogen store gets depleted and glucose level in the blood is expected to drop by ten-fold due to the shift as observed by Louis Pasteur. The drop in the blood glucose level causes the B-cells of the islet of Langerhans to be desensitized and there will be a corresponding drop in the insulin production [28]. This explains the decrease in plasma insulin level after the 6-week training programme and the negative correlation between Cortisol hormone and insulin after the training period. The increase in Cortisol level is to regulate the protein synthesis [29] of certain enzymes (such as hormone sensitive lipase) which are actively involved in the breakdown of adipose fat, protein and lipids to yield amino acids and fatty acids that are oxidized for energy [15,30]. GGT is synthesized in response to stress and the increased plasma level of GGT is based on the stimulating effect of Cortisol on its synthesis to regulate the stress effect [31-33]. Since secretion of Cortisol and other hormones such as epinephrine and glucagon exerts an opposing effect to insulin, a negative correlation is therefore expected and this was observed after the exercise (Table 2).


The present study though involves subjects that were apparently healthy with regards to BMI and body weight, the post-exercise measurements signify the importance of exercise even among individuals who are apparently healthy. Thus, reducing their risk of degenerative diseases whose promoter is basically free radicals. It can therefore be concluded that continuous and interval training exercise programmes are effective non- pharmacological appendage in the management and risk reduction of metabolic disorders such as obesity and non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus among Nigerian students.


Biochemistry Laboratory Department, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin city, Nigeria. All students who participated in this study.


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