European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 11, pp 3787–3795

The acute effects of aerobic exercise and modified rugby on inflammation and glucose homeostasis within Indigenous Australians

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00421-012-2361-5

Cite this article as:
Mendham, A.E., Coutts, A.J. & Duffield, R. Eur J Appl Physiol (2012) 112: 3787. doi:10.1007/s00421-012-2361-5


This study investigated the acute effects of two exercise modes, including cycle ergometry and modified rugby on inflammation and glucose regulation within an Indigenous Australian population. Ten sedentary, untrained Indigenous male participants volunteered to participate and were not clinically diagnosed with cardiovascular or metabolic disorders. Following baseline testing and in a randomized cross-over design participants completed two exercise protocols (cycle ergometry and modified rugby) of 40-min duration separated by 7 days’ recovery. Fasting venous blood was collected pre, post, 30, 60 and 240 min post exercise for analysis of glucose, insulin, cortisol and inflammatory markers of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-1 receptor agonist (ra) and C-reactive protein (CRP). IL-6 and IL-1ra were significantly (P < 0.05) increased within the 240 min post-exercise period, without significant differences between protocols (P > 0.05). There were no significant changes within or between protocols for TNF-α, IL-1β and CRP (P > 0.05). A comparison of insulin resistance: homeostasis model (HOMA) between resting and 240 min post exercise shows a change from a baseline value of 4.44 (3.71) to 1.76 (1.67) HOMA in cycle ergometry (P < 0.05) and to 1.54 (1.33) HOMA in modified rugby (P < 0.05), without differences between sessions (P > 0.05). This study identified similar acute inflammatory and glucose regulatory responses between cycle ergometry and modified rugby. Prescribing modified rugby as a mode of physical activity may provide Indigenous populations with a community-based approach to promote increased engagement in physical activity and assist in the acute regulation of glucose disposal and inflammatory cytokines.


Aboriginal AustraliansSedentaryCyclingIntervalSmall-sided games



Cardiovascular disease


C-reactive protein


Global positioning satellite


Graded exercise test


Heart rate


Insulin resistance: homeostasis model




Maximum heart rate


Oxygen consumption


Receptor agonist


Total body fat mass


Tumor necrosis factor alpha


Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy E. Mendham
    • 1
  • Aaron J. Coutts
    • 2
  • Rob Duffield
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Human Movement StudiesCharles Sturt UniversityBathurstAustralia
  2. 2.Sport and Exercise Discipline GroupUTS: Health, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)SydneyAustralia