Background: A single bout of exercise improves postprandial glycemia and insulin sensitivity in prediabetic patients; however, the impact of exercise intensity is not well understood. The present study compared the effects of acute isocaloric moderate (MIE) and high-intensity (HIE) exercise on glucose disposal and insulin sensitivity in prediabetic adults.
Methods: Subjects (n=18; age 49±14 y; fasting glucose 105±11 mg/dL; 2 h glucose 170±32 mg/dL) completed a peak O2 consumption/lactate threshold (LT) protocol plus three randomly assigned conditions: 1) control, 1 hour of seated rest, 2) MIE (at LT), and 3) HIE (75% of difference between LT and peak O2 consumption). One hour after exercise, subjects received an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Plasma glucose, insulin, and C-peptide concentrations were sampled at 5- to 10-minute intervals at baseline, during exercise, after exercise, and for 3 hours after glucose ingestion. Total, early-phase, and late-phase area under the glucose and insulin response curves were compared between conditions. Indices of insulin sensitivity (SI) were derived from OGTT data using the oral minimal model.
Results: Compared with control, SI improved by 51% (P=.02) and 85% (P<.001) on the MIE and HIE days, respectively. No differences in SI were observed between the exercise conditions (P=.62). Improvements in SI corresponded to significant reductions in the glucose, insulin, and C-peptide area under the curve values during the late phase of the OGTT after HIE (P<.05), with only a trend for reductions after MIE.
Conclusion: These results suggest that in prediabetic adults, acute exercise has an immediate and intensity-dependent effect on improving postprandial glycemia and insulin sensitivity.