Effect of a prior bout of preconditioning exercise on muscle damage from downhill walking
National Research Council of Canada
School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research
This study investigated whether reduced-duration downhill walking (DW) would confer a protective effect against muscle damage induced by a subsequent bout of longer duration DW performed 1 week or 4 weeks later. Healthy young adults were allocated to a control or one of the preconditioning exercise (PRE-1wk or PRE-4wk) groups (10 men and 4 women per group). PRE-1wk and PRE-4wk groups performed 20-minDW(–28% slope, 5 km/h, 10% body mass added to a backpack) 1 week and 4 weeks before 40-min DW, respectively, and the control group performed 40-min DW only. Maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) knee extension torque, plasma creatine kinase (CK) activity, and muscle soreness (100-mm visual analog scale) were measured before, immediately after, and 24, 48, and 72 h after DW, and the changes in these variables were compared among groups. The control group showed symptoms of muscle damage (e.g., prolonged decrease in MVC: –14% ± 10% at 48 h post-DW) after 40-min DW. Changes in all variables after 40-minDWof PRE-1wk and PRE-4wk groups were 54%–61% smaller (P < 0.05) than the control group, without significant differences between PRE-1wk and PRE-4wk groups for MVC and plasma CK activity. Importantly, changes after the preconditioning exercise (20-min DW) were 67%–69% smaller (P < 0.05) than those after the 40-min DW of the control group. These findings suggest that 20-min DW resulting in minor muscle damage conferred a protective effect against subsequent 40-min DW, and its effect could last for more than 4 weeks.