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Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2013 Nov;29(8):593-603. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.2461.

Exercise lowers postprandial glucose but not fasting glucose in type 2 diabetes: a meta-analysis of studies using continuous glucose monitoring.

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Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation and the Alberta Diabetes Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


Exercise has repeatedly been shown to improve glycemic control as assessed by glycated hemoglobin. However, changes in glycated hemoglobin do not provide information regarding which aspects of glycemic control have been altered. The purpose of this systematic review was to examine the effect of exercise as assessed by continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGMS) in type 2 diabetes. Databases (PubMed, Medline, EMBASE) were searched up to February 2013. Eligible studies had participants with type 2 diabetes complete standardized exercise protocols and used CGMS to measure changes in glycemic control. Randomized controlled trials, crossover trials and studies with pre-post designs were included. Average glucose concentration, daily time spent in hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia, and fasting glucose concentration were compared between exercise and control conditions. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. Eight studies had short-term (≤2 weeks) exercise interventions, whereas three studies had a longer-term intervention (all >2 months). The types of exercises utilized included aerobic, resistance and a combination of the two. The eight short-term studies were included in quantitative analysis. Exercise significantly decreased average glucose concentrations (-0.8 mmol/L, p < 0.01) and daily time spent in hyperglycemia (-129 minutes, p < 0.01), but did not significantly affect daily time spent in hypoglycemia (-3 minutes, p = 0.47) or fasting glucose (-0.3 mmol/L, p = 0.13). The four randomized crossover trials had similar findings compared to studies with pre-post designs. Exercise consistently reduced average glucose concentrations and time spent in hyperglycemia despite not significantly affecting outcomes such as fasting glucose and hypoglycemia.


blood glucose; diabetes mellitus; exercise; meta-analysis; type 2

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