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IHRSA Research October

Posted on October 16, 2019

Why get active

Exercise Linked to Insulin Sensitivity, Secretion 

Exercise is known to help increase insulin sensitivity, which has implications for type 2 diabetes risk. A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise looked at how energy deficit from diet or exercise influence insulin sensitivity and secretion. During the study, 19 participants—all healthy adults—did moderate-intensity aerobic exercise to lower their energy balance, while 13 participants used diet to do the same. 

For participants who used exercise, the study showed that insulin sensitivity increased in a linear pattern. However, for those who used diet, there was no change in insulin sensitivity.  Acute insulin response, the first phase of insulin secretion, dropped in both dieters and exercisers. Conversely, glucose effectiveness (an important component of insulin secretion) and disposition index (a measure of how much insulin is secreted relative to how much glucose is consumed) were decreased as a result of diet but not exercise related changes to energy balance. Researchers also noted that insulin secretion decreased to a certain point after a small dose of exercise, and then did not reduce any further.  

These results suggest that the energy deficit produced by exercise has different but beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and secretion compared to the energy deficit produced by dietary changes

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