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Glucose response to exercise in the post-prandial period is independent of exercise intensity

© 2017 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd This study investigated the acute glucose response to low-intensity, moderate-intensity, and high-intensity interval exercise compared to no-exercise in healthy insufficiently active males using a four-arm, randomized, crossover design. Ten males (age: 37.3 ± 7.3 years, BMI: 29.3 ± 6.5 kg·m−2) completed four 30-minute interventions at weekly intervals comprising low-intensity exercise (LIE) at ~35% VO2R, moderate-intensity exercise (MIE) at ~50% VO2R, high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) at ~80% VO2R, and a no-exercise control. Participants performed cycle ergometer exercise 30 minutes after finishing breakfast. Glucose response was assessed using a continuous glucose monitor under free-living conditions with dietary intake replicated. A significant effect for intensity on energy expenditure was identified (P <.001) with similar energy cost in MIE (mean ± SD: 869 ± 148 kJ) and HIIE (806 ± 145 kJ), which were both greater than LIE (633 ± 129 kJ). The pattern of glucose response between the interventions over time was different (P =.02). Glucose was lower 25 minutes into each of the HIIE, MIE and LIE trials respectively (mean difference ± SD: −0.7 ± 1.1; −0.9 ± 1.1; −0.6 ± 0.9 mmol·L−1; P <.05) than in the no-exercise trial. Glucose response was not different between exercise intensities (P >.05). Twenty-four-hour AUC was not affected by exercise intensity (P =.75). There was a significant effect for exercise enjoyment (P =.02), with LIE (69 ± 4) preferred less than HIIE (mean ± SD: 84 ± 14; P =.02), MIE (73 ± 5; P =.03), and no-exercise (75 ± 4; P =.03). Exercise at any intensity 30 minutes after a meal affects glycemic regulation equally in insufficiently active males. Moderate to vigorous exercise intensities were preferred, and therefore, the exercise guidelines appear appropriate for the prevention of cardiometabolic disease.


La Trobe University, Sport Exercise and Rehabilitation Research Focus Area


Publication Date



Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports






8p. (p. 939-946)





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