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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 121-124

Effect of uphill, level, and downhill walking on cardiovascular parameters among young adults


Department of Physiology, J. N. Medical College, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research, Belagavi, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication18-May-2018

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Samir Adhikari
Department of Physiology, J. N. Medical College, KLE Academy of Higher Education and Research, Belagavi, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/kleuhsj.kleuhsj_79_17

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  Abstract 


BACKGROUND: Uphill walking and downhill walking are the different forms of walking which causes cardiovascular changes in the body. By changing the gradient of the treadmill, we can change the severity of exercise by keeping the speed constant.
AIM: This study aims to evaluate the cardiovascular changes during uphill, level, and downhill walking in young adults.
STUDY DESIGN: This was an experimental study
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty participants (15 males and 5 females) having normal body mass index were made to walk on the treadmill at different gradients of −15%, 0%, and +15% at a preferential speed for a constant duration of 15 min. The heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and rate pressure product (RPP) were recorded before and after walking.
STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: Statistical analysis was done by ANOVA test using SPPSS, version 20 (IBM, Bangaluru, Karnataka ,India), where P < 0.05 was taken as statistically significant.
RESULTS: There was a significant increase in HR (105.8 ± 20.06), SBP (133.3 ± 13.54), and RPP (14146 ± 3025) during uphill walking as compared to downhill and level walking. There were no significant changes in cardiovascular parameters when level walking and downhill walking were compared. DBP did not show any significant changes at any gradient of walking.
CONCLUSION: Cardiovascular response increases during uphill walking, but level walking and downhill walking show no difference in cardiovascular response. These findings can be used to prescribe the exercises for young adults.

Keywords: Cardiovascular, downhill, exercise, treadmill, uphill


How to cite this article:
Adhikari S, Patil PP. Effect of uphill, level, and downhill walking on cardiovascular parameters among young adults. Indian J Health Sci Biomed Res 2018;11:121-4

How to cite this URL:
Adhikari S, Patil PP. Effect of uphill, level, and downhill walking on cardiovascular parameters among young adults. Indian J Health Sci Biomed Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Feb 28];11:121-4. Available from: http://www.ijournalhs.org/text.asp?2018/11/2/121/232698




  Introduction Top


It is a well-known fact that walking is good for health. It also forms a part of recreative activities with many health-related benefits. Walking helps to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disorders such as myocardial ischemia and atherosclerosis.[1],[2],[3] There is also increase in the size and number of branches of the coronary arteries with an increase in the demand of oxygen-rich blood which occurs during aerobic exercises. The increase in the number of branches and size of coronary arteries provides the additional channels for oxygenated blood to reach the heart muscle. Hence, in case of arterial block, it provides the alternative pathway and keeps the blood supply flowing.[4],[5],[6]

Walking uphill and walking downhill are parts of daily life. While walking through a high hill or even stairs, we encounter a similar situation. Walking uphill forms the concentric type of exercise, whereas downhill walking forms the eccentric type of exercise. Treadmill which is the common tool for walking provides us with the option of changing the gradient, giving rise to different physiological responses.[7] It is necessary to know such types of changes occurring in our body during that situation. These types of exercises are useful for the individual with less exercise tolerance who does not want to increase the speed of the treadmill and wants maximum benefit. Hence, the objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of uphill, level, and downhill walking on cardiovascular parameters among young adults.


  Materials and Methods Top


As seen in [Figure 1], a total of 20 participants (15 males and 5 females) with normal body mass index (BMI) were selected randomly for this experimental study. The source of participants was first-year medical students of the J.N. Medical College, Belagavi. Individuals who were having a history of cardiovascular, neurological and musculoskeletal disorders and individuals doing regular physical exercises were excluded from the study. The ethical clearance was obtained from the Institute Ethical Committee for human subjects. Participants were explained about the study, and written consent was taken from them. Participants' information regarding personal history, socioeconomic status, anthropometric data along with basal heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and rate pressure product (RPP) were recorded. Participants were called during the afternoon session, and walking was done on three different days so as to avoid the fatigue factor. Participants were asked to have a normal diet, 2 h before walking. The temperature of the laboratory was maintained at a constant temperature for all the 3 days. On the 1st day, participants were asked to perform level walking at 0% gradient in a motor-driven treadmill for 15 min at their preferential speed. After walking, HR, SBP, DBP, and RPP were recorded. On the 2nd day, participants were asked to perform downhill walking at −15% gradient in a motor-driven treadmill for 15 min at their preferential speed and HR, SBP, DBP, and RPP were recorded after walking. Similarly, on the 3rd day, participants were asked to perform uphill walking at +15% gradient in a motor-driven treadmill for 15 min at their preferential speed. After walking, HR, SBP, DBP, and RPP were recorded. Preferential speed was determined for each condition in all participants according to the method proposed by Martin et al.[8] First, treadmill speed was kept at 1.5 km/h and participant was made to walk, then slowly speed was increased until the individual subjectively found his/her preferred walking speed which was then maintained for 1 min, after which the participant was asked to evaluate the speed again. Changes in the speed were subsequently made according to participant's decision. Later, the procedure was repeated with a treadmill initial speed of 8.0 km/h and was gradually reduced. The preferred walking speed was finally determined as the average of the two subjective estimates of speed with the instructions to find a comfortable walking pace. Statistical analysis was done by ANOVA test, where P < 0.05 was taken statistically significant.
Figure 1: Flow chart of method

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  Results Top


There were a total of 20 participants. [Table 1] summarizes the anthropometric data of the participants. The mean age (in years) of the participants was 20.55 ± 1.98. The mean BMI of the participants was 21.28 ± 1.59 and the waist–hip ratio was 0.875 ± 0.038.
Table 1: Anthropometric data of the participants

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[Table 2] summarizes the cardiovascular changes after downhill, level, and uphill walking. The result shows that there was a significant increase (P < 0.05) in the HR (105.8 ± 20.06) during uphill walking as compared to downhill and level walking [as seen in [Graph 1]. Similarly, increase in SBP (133.3 ± 13.54), and RPP (14146 ± 3025) was found to be statistically significant after uphill walking as compared to downhill and level walking [Graph 2] and [Graph 3]. No significant difference was found when DBP was compared while walking at different gradients.
Table 2: Cardiovascular changes after downhill, level, and uphill walking

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  Discussion Top


The findings of the present study showed a significant increase in cardiovascular responses such as HR, SBP, and RPP during uphill walking. The response during level and downhill walking was almost similar in terms of cardiovascular parameters. Previous studies which described increase in HR, SBP, and RPP during uphill walking and no significant changes during level and downhill walking support the findings observed in the present study.[9],[10] A study in the past has shown that HR response at grades of −5% and −10% was significantly lower than +5% and +10% gradient in aerobically trained young men and women during both walking and slow jogging.[11] The RPP which is also an indicator of ventricular functional status was also increased significantly during uphill walking which is an index for myocardial oxygen demand.[12] However, another study concluded that there was decrease in RPP by 8% during downhill walking when compared with level walking.[13]

During uphill walking, the cost of energy increases. So as to provide the body with sufficient energy, the workload on the heart increases. This increase in the workload is presented with an increase in the HR, SBP, and RPP. With the increase in the level of inclination, there is more demand of energy for the muscles to perform so with the increase in demand there is an increase in the cardiovascular response. With the increase in the severity of the exercise, there is an increase in the blood flow which is due to arteriolar dilatation and the opening of the closed capillaries. During uphill walking, there is an increase in the SBP also which depends on the cardiac output. There is high demand of cardiac output with the increase in the level of exercise. This increased demand for the cardiac output is fulfilled by increasing the HR. During level and downhill walking, the HR was increased but was below 100 beats/min, so, according to the World Health Organization criteria, it forms mild exercise, while during uphill walking HR was in the range of 100–125 beats/min, which forms a moderate type of exercise.[4],[5]


  Conclusion Top


There is an increase in the cardiovascular response during uphill walking in young adults. Downhill walking and level walking show similar cardiovascular response. These findings help to understand the variations in cardiovascular response to walking at a different degree of gradient. Exercising at downhill and level is easier as compared to uphill. Hence, walking level and downhill is useful for the individuals who have low exercise tolerance and for beginners and progression can be done by increasing the gradient.

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank our faculty's members and my postgraduate colleagues of the Department of Physiology, J. N. Medical College, Belagavi, My special thanks to Mr. M. D. Mallapur for his statistical support.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Murphy M, Nevill A, Neville C, Biddle S, Hardman A. Accumulating brisk walking for fitness, cardiovascular risk, and psychological health. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2002;34:1468-74.  Back to cited text no. 1
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2.
Morris JN, Hardman AE. Walking to health. Sports Med 1997;23:306-32.  Back to cited text no. 2
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3.
Wimbush E, Macgregor A, Fraser E. Impacts of a national mass media campaign on walking in Scotland. Health Promot Int 1998;13:45-52.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Mcardle W, Katch F, Katch V. Exercise Physiology: Energy, Nutrition and Human Performance. 4th ed. New Delhi: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins; 2001.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Hall J. Guyton and Hall Textbook of Medical Physiology. 12th ed. New Delhi: Elsevier; 2011.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Jordan M. Healthy Mind, Healthy Body: Benefits of exercise. Available from: https://www.hms.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/assets/Sites/Longwood_Seminars/Exercise3.14.pdf. [Last accessed on 2017 Jan 26]  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Franks KA, Brown LE, Coburn JW, Kersey RD, Bottaro M. Effects of motorized vs. non-motorized treadmill training on hamstring/quadriceps strength ratios. J Sports Sci Med 2012;11:71-6.  Back to cited text no. 7
[PUBMED]    
8.
Martin PE, Rothstein DE, Larish DD. Effects of age and physical activity status on the speed-aerobic demand relationship of walking. J Appl Physiol (1985) 1992;73:200-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Minetti AE, Moia C, Roi GS, Susta D, Ferretti G. Energy cost of walking and running at extreme uphill and downhill slopes. J Appl Physiol (1985) 2002;93:1039-46.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Perrey S, Fabre N. Exertion during uphill, level and downhill walking with and without hiking poles. J Sports Sci Med 2008;7:32-8.  Back to cited text no. 10
[PUBMED]    
11.
Navalta JW, Sedlock DA, Park K. Physiological responses to downhill walking in older and younger individuals. J Exerc Physiol Online 2004;7:45-51.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Sembulingam P, Sembulingam K, Ilango S, Sridevi G. Rate pressure product as a determinant of physical fitness in normal young adults. IOSR J Dent Med Sci 2015;14:8-12.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Gault ML, Clements RE, Willems ME. Cardiovascular responses during downhill treadmill walking at self-selected intensity in older adults. J Aging Phys Act 2013;21:335-47.  Back to cited text no. 13
    


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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]



 

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