Exploring the variability in acute glycemic responses to exercise in type 2 diabetes

J Diabetes Res. 2013;2013:591574. doi: 10.1155/2013/591574. Epub 2013 Jul 29.


Aim: To explore the factors associated with exercise-induced acute capillary glucose (CapBG) changes in individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Methods: Fifteen individuals with T2D were randomly assigned to energy-matched high intensity interval exercise (HI-IE) and moderate intensity continuous exercise (MI-CE) interventions and performed a designated exercise protocol 5 days per week for 12 weeks. The duration of exercise progressed from 30 to 60 minutes. CapBG was measured immediately before and after each exercise session. Timing of food and antihyperglycemic medication intake prior to exercise was recorded.

Results: Overall, the mean CapBG was lowered by 1.9 mmol/L (P < 0.001) with the change ranging from -8.9 to +2.7 mmol/L. Preexercise CapBG (44%; P < 0.001), medication (5%; P < 0.001), food intake (4%; P = 0.043), exercise duration (5%; P < 0.001), and exercise intensity (1%; P = 0.007) were all associated with CapBG changes, explaining 59% of the variability.

Conclusion: The greater reduction in CapBG seen in individuals with higher preexercise CapBG may suggest the importance of exercise in the population with elevated glycemia. Lower blood glucose can be achieved with moderate intensity exercise, but prolonging exercise duration and/or including brief bouts of intense exercise accentuate the reduction, which can further be magnified by performing exercise after meals and antihyperglycemic medication. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrial.gov NCT01144078.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Eating / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01144078