Introduction: We investigated blood glucose (BG) and hormone response to aerobic high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) and moderate continuous exercise (CON) matched for mean load and duration in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).
Material and methods: Seven trained male subjects with T1DM performed a maximal incremental exercise test and HIIE and CON at 3 different mean intensities below (A) and above (B) the first lactate turn point and below the second lactate turn point (C) on a cycle ergometer. Subjects were adjusted to ultra-long-acting insulin Degludec (Tresiba/ Novo Nordisk, Denmark). Before exercise, standardized meals were administered, and short-acting insulin dose was reduced by 25% (A), 50% (B), and 75% (C) dependent on mean exercise intensity. During exercise, BG, adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine, cortisol, glucagon, and insulin-like growth factor-1, blood lactate, heart rate, and gas exchange variables were measured. For 24 h after exercise, interstitial glucose was measured by continuous glucose monitoring system.
Results: BG decrease during HIIE was significantly smaller for B (p = 0.024) and tended to be smaller for A and C compared to CON. No differences were found for post-exercise interstitial glucose, acute hormone response, and carbohydrate utilization between HIIE and CON for A, B, and C. In HIIE, blood lactate for A (p = 0.006) and B (p = 0.004) and respiratory exchange ratio for A (p = 0.003) and B (p = 0.003) were significantly higher compared to CON but not for C.
Conclusion: Hypoglycemia did not occur during or after HIIE and CON when using ultra-long-acting insulin and applying our methodological approach for exercise prescription. HIIE led to a smaller BG decrease compared to CON, although both exercises modes were matched for mean load and duration, even despite markedly higher peak workloads applied in HIIE. Therefore, HIIE and CON could be safely performed in T1DM.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02075567 http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02075567.