Does training intensity differ with upper vs. lower body exercise?

Arnt_ErikWe are now in the first autumn month, and the winter is fast approaching. For some, this is a sad part of the year, but for others (like me) winter is something to look forward to. We have the woods with all its beautiful colors, the excitement of the first approaching snow and a chance to try out our new cross country skis.

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Stored for the future

BlodprøverBy storing blood samples in a bio bank, the work we do today, can be useful in the future when for example new methods of analyzing is developed. In our largest project, Generation 100, we have saved 60,000 small tubes of blood so far, which in the future will help answer questions about aging and health. In the EU project OptimEx we are currently collecting blood from patients with diastolic heart failure both from Norway and other European countries. In the international project MET-EX we are collecting blood from participants with metabolic syndrome from several continents.

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Twitter and Heart Disease

twitter-bird-white-on-blueAre you on Twitter? Do you frequently curse or make use of inappropriate language on Twitter? If your answer is YES, be aware that, according to a newly published scientific article, you are more susceptible to die of a heart disease.

If that’s true or not we don’t really know. But let’s go through the facts already known by the scientific community, as well as through the some important details of this specific investigation before we make any statement about it.

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New CERG publications – spring 2013

Cardiac Exercise Research Group has been involved in several scientific publications this spring. Some of them have been discussed on the blog, for instance Linn B. Strands article on insomnia and VO2peak (in Norwegian). Through analysis of Helseundersøkelsen i Nord-Trøndelag (HUNT) data she found a modest inverse association of insomnia with VO(2peak) independent of conventional cardiovascular risk factors and self-reported physical activity. A dose-response relation for a insomnia symptoms and VO(2peak) was identified, indicating that regular exercise may protect against sleeping problems. The paper was published in Sleep, January 2013.

CERG researcher Anja Bye keeps exploring the exciting field of genetics and exercise
medicine, and in February, her paper “Circulating microRNAs and aerobic fitness–the HUNT study” was published in PLOS ONE. The study aimed to assess whether circulating microRNAs are associated with VO2peak in healthy individuals. Even this sample was extracted from the HUNT population. 720 miRs were measured in serum samples from healthy individuals aged 40-45 years with either high or low VO2peak matched for gender, age and physical activity. It was found that microRNAs named miR-210, miR-21 and miR-222 were increased in healthy subjects with low VO2max. However, when examining the association between these three components and other fitness related variables, as well as traditional CVD risk factors, no significant correlation was identified. This may indicate that these miRs may have a potential as new independent biomarkers of fitness level and future CVD. Something to think of – will a blood sample in some years be able to give you a prediction of your future health?


One of our Brazilian PhD students, Jose Bianco N. Moreira, had his first paper published in Journal of Applied Physiology in April. The title is “High-versus moderate-intensity aerobic exercise training effects on skeletal muscle of infarcted rats”, and describes the effects of two different exercise protocols (high vs. moderate intensity) on skeletal muscle in rats. The rats had undergone either myocardioal infarction or sham surgery, and exercise was performed by treadmill running. High-intensity training was superior to moderate intensity in improving aerobic capacity. Further, cardiac contractile function, measured by echocardiography, was equally improved by the protocols. However, no significant differences between the exercise protocols were detected regarding skeletal muscle adaptations of training. So, even though we have found high intensity training to be beneficial in several other health-related aspects, skeletal muscle does not seem to be affected in the same way.

Further, Tommy Aune Rehn, supervised by CERG researcers Øivind Rognmo and Ulrik Wisløff, published an article in Open Cardiovascular Medicine Journal just recently. The article was refered to on the blog a few weeks ago and suggests high-intensity training as a way to improve public health and prevent chronic diseases.

The last publication per today has PhD student Henrik Loe as first author, and can be read online in PLOS ONE. Henrik wrote a blog post about the topic of his PhD work previously – how to find mean standards of fitness based on the HUNT data (in Norwegian). Through assessment of maximal and sub maximal levels of VO2, heart rate, oxygen pulse, and rating of perceived exertion (Borg scale: 6-20) in 1929 men and 1881 women aged 20-90 years during treadmill running, it was possible to say something about expected values for the different age groups. HUNT represents the largest European reference material of objectively measured parameters of aerobic fitness and exercise-physiology in healthy people. This gives an opportunity of forming the basis for an easily accessible, valid and understandable tool for improved training prescription in healthy men and women.

More CERG publications are to come – we will keep you updated both here on the blog and on our webpage. 

Maria Henningsen, CERG