Exercise and Insulin Resistance

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2020:1228:137-150. doi: 10.1007/978-981-15-1792-1_9.


In insulin resistance, alterations occur in the signalling pathways that modulate glucose uptake into cells, especially skeletal muscle cells, resulting in impaired glucose homeostasis. Glucose uptake into cells is controlled by a number of pathways, some of which are insulin-dependent. During exercise glucose uptake can occur independently of insulin regulation, and hence research into the effects of exercise on insulin resistance must be clearly defined to reflect whether glucose uptake has been enhanced as a result of the utilisation of these insulin-independent pathways, or whether exercise directly affects insulin resistance in cells. Research into the benefits of exercise for insulin resistance is also problematic in the need to clarify whether it is the exercise itself, or the visceral fat/weight loss that has resulted from the exercise, that has led to improved insulin sensitivity. The research presents a promising picture for the benefits of exercise in insulin resistance.

Keywords: Exercise; Insulin resistance; Insulin sensitivity; Insulin-independent pathways; Type II diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism


  • Insulin
  • Glucose