JOURNAL ARTICLE

Effects of Different Exercise Strategies to Improve Postprandial Glycemia in Healthy Individuals

Alessio Bellini, Andrea Nicolò, Ilenia Bazzucchi, Massimo Sacchetti
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2021 January 21
33481486

PURPOSE: We systematically investigated the effects of different exercise strategies on postprandial glycemia.

METHODS: Six randomized repeated-measures crossover studies were performed. Study 1 compared the effects of 60 min of brisk walking started at 30, 60 or 90 min after breakfast on post-breakfast and post-lunch glycemic responses. Study 2 investigated the effects of 30 min of different exercise types (aerobic vs. resistance vs. combined). Study 3 compared the effects of 30 min of different aerobic exercise types (walking vs. cycling vs. elliptical). Study 4 evaluated the effects of 30 min of brisk walking performed 45 min before, or 15 and 30 min after breakfast. Study 5 compared 30 with 45 min of postprandial brisk walking. Study 6 compared the effects of a total of 30-min brisk walking exercise fragmented in bouts of 15, 5 or 2.5 min performed every 15 min.

RESULTS: Postprandial but not pre-prandial exercise improved glycemic response (Studies 1 and 4). The glycemic peak was attenuated only when exercise started 15 min after the meal (Study 4). A similar reduction of the postprandial glycemic response was observed with different exercise types (Studies 2 and 3). Thirty and 45 min of brisk walking provided a similar reduction of the postprandial glucose response (Study 5). When performing activity breaks, 10 and 20 min of cumulative exercise were sufficient to attenuate postprandial glycemia in the first-hour post-meal (Study 6).

CONCLUSION: Our findings provide insight into how to choose timing, type, duration, and modality for postprandial exercise prescription in healthy individuals.

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