European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 112, Issue 11, pp 3787–3795 | Cite as

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

  • Amy E. MendhamEmail author
  • Aaron J. Coutts
  • Rob Duffield
Original Article


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 Australians Sedentary Cycling Interval Small-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



The authors would like to acknowledge the University of Technology, Sydney for providing the funding required for blood analysis. The authors would also like to acknowledge staff at Pathology, Bathurst Base Hospital NSW, Australia, and the Institutional staff at Charles Sturt University Exercise Physiology Laboratories, Bathurst, NSW, for assistance and support involving blood analysis. They would also like to acknowledge all participants and members of the Aboriginal community for their involvement and support in the research study

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amy E. Mendham
    • 1
    Email author
  • 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

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