Hypoxic Training Improves Normoxic Glucose Tolerance in Adolescents with Obesity

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Abstract

Purpose

This study aimed to test whether environmental hypoxia could potentiate the effects of exercise training on glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

Methods

Fourteen adolescents with obesity were assigned to 6 wk of exercise training either in normoxic or in hypoxic conditions (FiO2 15%). Adolescents trained three times per week for 50–60 min, including endurance and resistance exercises. Oral glucose tolerance test, blood and morphological analyses, and physical performance tests were performed before and after the training period.

Results

After training, hypoxia, but not normoxia, decreased the area under the curve of plasma insulin (−49%; P = 0.001) and glucose levels (−14%; P = 0.005) during oral glucose tolerance test. Decreased plasma triglycerides levels (P = 0.03) and increased maximal aerobic power (P = 0.002), work capacity at 160 bpm (P = 0.002), and carbohydrate consumption during exercise (P = 0.03) were measured only in the hypoxic group.

Conclusions

Hypoxic exercise training was particularly efficient at improving glucose tolerance and insulin response to a glucose challenge in adolescents with obesity. These results suggest that exercise training in hypoxia could be an interesting strategy against insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes development in adolescents with obesity.

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