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Kennedy, R A.1; Boreham, C A. G. FACSM1; Murphy, M H.1; Young, I1; Wallace, W F. M.1; Tully, M1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2003 - Volume 35 - Issue 5 - p S373
H-13L Free Communication/Poster Exercise Training and Health

1University of Ulster, Jordanstown, UK and The Queen's University, Belfast, UK

One strategy advocated to meet the current physical activity guidelines is to accumulate activity in short bouts throughout the day. The efficacy of this approach has been demonstrated experimentally using 10-minute bouts of activity; however, it remains unclear whether accumulating very short bouts of exercise lasting approximately 2 minutes can also confer health benefits.

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To investigate the training effects of eight weeks of stairclimbing on VO2max, blood lipids and homocysteine in sedentary, but otherwise healthy young women.

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Fifteen women, aged 18.8 ± 0.7 yrs (mean ± SD), were randomly assigned to control (n = 7) or stairclimbing (n = 8) groups. Stairclimbing was progressively increased from one ascent per day in week 1 to five ascents per day in weeks 7 and 8. Training took place 5 d wk−1, on a public access staircase (199 steps), at a stepping rate of 90 steps min−1. Each ascent took approximately 2 minutes to complete. Subjects agreed not to change their diet or lifestyle over the experimental period.

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Relative to controls, the stairclimbing group displayed an increase in VO2max (+4.5 ± 3.7 mL·kg·min−1, p < 0.05) and a reduction in LDL-C (−0.17 ± 0.27 mmol·L−1, p < 0.05) over the training period. No change occurred in total cholesterol, HDL-C, triglycerides or homocysteine.

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These findings indicate that accumulating short bouts of stairclimbing activity throughout the day can favourably alter important cardiovascular risk factors in previously sedentary young women.

©2003The American College of Sports Medicine