Exercise-Induced Improvements in Postprandial Glucose Response Are Blunted by Pre-Exercise Hyperglycemia: A Randomized Crossover Trial in Healthy Individuals

Steven Carter, Thomas P.J. Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)


Background: Exercise improves glycemic control but the magnitude, and in some cases, the direction of this effect is variable. Ambient hyperglycemia has been implicated in this exercise response heterogeneity. The current study investigated whether pre-exercise hyperglycemia directly impacts the effect of exercise on glycemic control. Methods: Twelve healthy normal glucose-tolerant males completed four trials in a randomized, crossover design. Each trial consisted of 24-h pre-intervention monitoring, a 7-h intervention, and 24-h post-intervention monitoring. Glycemic control was measured throughout the study by continuous glucose monitoring. The four interventions were no exercise (CON) or 45 min of cycling exercise (70%HRmax) preceded by 3.5 h of either normoglycemia (NG-Ex), steady-state hyperglycemia induced by constant glucose infusion (HG-Ex) or fluctuating glycemia induced by repeated glucose bolus infusions (FG-Ex). Results: Physical activity and diet were similar between trials, and energy expenditure during exercise was matched between exercise trials (all P > 0.05). Mean glucose during the 3.5 h ± infusion period was higher in HG-Ex (mean ± SEM; 7.2 ± 0.4 mmol/L) and FG-Ex (7.3 ± 0.3 mmol/L) compared to CON (4.8 ± 0.2 mmol/L) and NG-Ex (5.0 ± 0.2 mmol/L) trials (P < 0.01). Glycemic variability was greatest in FG-Ex (P < 0.01). Following the interventions, the postprandial glucose response (iAUC) was reduced by exercise in NG-Ex compared to CON (321.1 ± 38.6 vs. 445.5 ± 49.7 mmol/L.8h, P < 0.05, d=0.81). This benefit was blunted when exercise was preceded by steady-state (HG-Ex, 425.3 ± 45.7 mmol/L.8h) and fluctuating (FG-Ex, 465.5 ± 39.3 mmol/L.8h) hyperglycemia (both P > 0.05 vs. CON). Conclusion: Pre-exercise hyperglycemia blunted the glucoregulatory benefits of acute exercise upon postprandial glucose response, suggesting that exposure to hyperglycemia contributes to exercise response heterogeneity. Clinical Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier NCT03284216.

Original languageEnglish
Article number566548
JournalFrontiers in Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2020


  • exercise
  • glycemic control
  • heterogeneity, variability
  • hyperglycemia
  • postprandial
  • type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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