Diabetologia

, Volume 57, Issue 7, pp 1437–1445

‘Exercise snacks’ before meals: a novel strategy to improve glycaemic control in individuals with insulin resistance

Authors

  • Monique E. Francois
    • School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise SciencesUniversity of Otago
  • James C. Baldi
    • Dunedin School of MedicineUniversity of Otago
  • Patrick J. Manning
    • Dunedin School of MedicineUniversity of Otago
  • Samuel J. E. Lucas
    • School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise SciencesUniversity of Otago
    • Department of PhysiologyUniversity of Otago
    • School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity of Birmingham
  • John A. Hawley
    • Exercise and Nutrition Research Group, Department of Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Health SciencesAustralian Catholic University
    • Research Institute for Sport and Exercise SciencesLiverpool John Moores University
  • Michael J. A. Williams
    • Dunedin School of MedicineUniversity of Otago
    • School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise SciencesUniversity of Otago
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00125-014-3244-6

Cite this article as:
Francois, M.E., Baldi, J.C., Manning, P.J. et al. Diabetologia (2014) 57: 1437. doi:10.1007/s00125-014-3244-6

Abstract

Aims/hypothesis

The aim of this study was to investigate whether small doses of intense exercise before each main meal (‘exercise snacks’) would result in better blood glucose control than a single bout of prolonged, continuous, moderate-intensity exercise in individuals with insulin resistance.

Methods

Nine individuals completed three exercise interventions in randomised order. Measures were recorded across 3 days with exercise performed on the middle day, as either: (1) traditional continuous exercise (CONT), comprising 30 min moderate-intensity (60% of maximal heart rate [HRmax]) incline walking before dinner; (2) exercise snacking (ES), consisting of 6 × 1 min intense (90% HRmax) incline walking intervals 30 min before each meal; or (3) composite exercise snacking (CES), encompassing 6 × 1 min intervals alternating between walking and resistance-based exercise, 30 min before meals. Meal timing and composition were controlled within participants for exercise interventions.

Results

ES attenuated mean 3 h postprandial glucose concentration following breakfast (by 1.4 ± 1.5 mmol/l, p = 0.02) but not lunch (0.4 ± 1.0 mmol/l, p = 0.22), and was more effective than CONT following dinner (0.7 ± 1.5 mmol/l below CONT; p = 0.04). ES also reduced 24 h mean glucose concentration by 0.7 ± 0.6 mmol/l (p = 0.01) and this reduction persisted for the subsequent 24 h (lower by 0.6 ± 0.4 mmol/l vs CONT, relative to their baselines; p = 0.01). CES was just as effective as ES (p > 0.05 for all glycaemic variables) at improving glycaemic control.

Conclusions/interpretation

Dosing exercise as brief, intense ‘exercise snacks’ before main meals is a time-efficient and effective approach to improve glycaemic control in individuals with insulin resistance.

Keywords

Continuous glucose monitoringHigh-intensity interval exercisePostprandial glucoseType 2 diabetes

Abbreviations

CVD

Cardiovascular disease

CES

Composite exercise snacking

CGM

Continuous blood glucose monitoring

CONT

Traditional continuous exercise

ES

Exercise snacking protocol

HIT

High-intensity interval training

HR

Heart rate

HRmax

Maximal heart rate

PPG

Postprandial glucose

RER

Respiratory exchange ratio

RPE

Rating of perceived exertion

\( \dot{V}{\mathrm{O}}_{2 \max } \)

Maximal oxygen consumption

Supplementary material

125_2014_3244_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (142 kb)
ESM Methods(PDF 142 kb)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014