In joint research carried out by ACU’s Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology investigated the link between the time-of-day exercise is performed, and the effect on blood glucose levels and other health markers . The scientists have reported that men who were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes who exercised in the evening while consuming a controlled high fat diet showed a reduction in their fasting blood glucose levels compared to the other groups who exercised in the morning, or not at all (while sharing the same diet). Improvement in LDL-cholesterol and triacylglycerol profiles were also noted in the group that exercise in the evening.
The research results, published in the journal Diabetologia, demonstrated that evening exercise was associated with an improvement in fasting blood glucose levels. The results from this study bear similar results to those found in similar studies in participants with type 2 diabetes.
Both morning and evening exercise groups improved cardiovascular and respiratory fitness markers, and insulin levels after meals when compared to those who did not exercise. While in this study, evening exercise appeared to reduce fasting glucose levels, regular physical activity at any time of day, particularly for those living with diabetes reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, and some cancers, and can improve well-being, insulin function, and glucose management.
The results from this study (and studies before) show promise in supporting people to manage their diabetes, however the studies are short in duration, limited numbers of participants, and the impact of additional environmental variations such as sleep duration was not investigated. This study did exclude people with type 2 diabetes, and only investigated this relationship with men. Further investigation for longer duration, in a wider variety of people is needed to determine the significance of timing of exercise for long-term diabetes management and health outcomes.
These studies continue to highlight the importance of physical activity in the prevention and ongoing management of diabetes. Diabetes WA is providing exercise support for people throughout WA with our partnership with Marian Brennan and the Perth Physical Activity and Diabetes Institute, free self-management programs DESMOND and Ready-Set-Go Lets Move, and our prevention program Lets Prevent.