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Metabolism. 2014 Apr;63(4):510-9. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2013.12.006. Epub 2013 Dec 14.

Multiple short bouts of exercise over 12-h period reduce glucose excursions more than an energy-matched single bout of exercise.

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Department of Exercise Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA; Department of Exercise and Rehabilitative Sciences, Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA, USA.
School of Psychology and Exercise Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Western Australia.
Department of Exercise Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA.
Department of Internal Medicine, SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY, USA.
Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA. Electronic address:



Long, uninterrupted bouts of sedentary behavior are thought to negatively influence postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations. We examined the effects of a 1-h bout of morning exercise versus intermittent walking bouts of short duration on glucose excursions and insulin secretion over 12-h.


Eleven young, obese individuals (18-35 years, BMI>30kg/m(2)) with impaired glucose tolerance were studied on three 12-h study days: 1) sedentary behavior (SED); 2) sedentary behavior with 1-h morning exercise (EX) at 60%-65% VO2peak; and 3) sedentary behavior with 12-hourly, 5-min intervals of exercise (INT) at 60%-65% VO2peak. Meals (1046kJ/meal) were provided every 2-h. Blood samples were collected every 10 min and measured for glucose, insulin, and c-peptide concentrations.


Glucose iAUC (12-h) was attenuated in the INT and SED conditions compared to the EX condition (P<0.05). Glucose concentrations were higher in the EX compared to the SED condition for ~150min (20% of the study day), and comparison of the EX-INT study days revealed that glucose concentrations were greater for~240min (~1/3 of the 12-hday). In the SED condition, the 12-h insulin iAUC was ~15% higher (P<0.05) compared to the INT and EX conditions. Insulin production rate was found to increase ~20% with INT exercise vs. the SED and EX condition (P<0.05).


Short, frequent periods of exercise attenuated glucose excursions and insulin concentrations in obese individuals to a greater degree than an equal amount of exercise performed continuously in the morning.


Glucose; Insulin; Obesity; Physical activity; Sedentary

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