What time to exercise to control your diabetes? Depending on the time of your exercise, the effects of sport on blood sugar levels vary according to a recent study published in the scientific journal Diabelology on November 1. The Dutch study by researchers from the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands, shows that Physical activity in the afternoon or evening is associated with a greater reduction in insulin resistance (and therefore with better glycemic control and lower risk of type 2 diabetes) than sport done during the day. If you are a fan of morning jogging, you may need to change your habits.

Diabetes: Exercise is associated with improved insulin sensitivity

Previous studies have already shown the health benefits of sport and declared that Exercise is associated with reduced liver fat and improved insulin sensitivity. A very sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but according to some studies, there will be more effective schedules. Researchers point out that “the timing of physical activity during the day may be a factor in metabolic health“. It is for this reason that the team of scientists from Leiden University sought to investigate the relationships between the time of physical activity and the fat content of the liver and insulin resistance. Therefore, the team sought to -study the relationships between the time of physical activity and breaks in the sedentary time, on the one hand, and liver fat content and insulin resistance in a population of medium age.

The researchers used data from the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study, a population-based prospective cohort study designed to investigate the processes involved in the development of obesity-related diseases. . Participants also underwent a physical examination in which blood samples are taken to measure fasting and postprandial blood glucose and insulin levels (after lunch). Another random subsample of 955 participants received an accelerometer and a heart rate monitor that they wore for four consecutive days and nights to track their movements and activities.

Diabetes: physical activity at night reduces insulin resistance by 25%

As a result, after adjusting for variables such as age, sex, ethnicity, and total body fat, the researchers observed that higher exercise-related energy expenditure was associated with both decreased fat content in the liver and reduced insulin resistance. The study found that training a Physical activity in the afternoon or evening was associated with a reduction in insulin resistance, by 18% and 25% respectivelycompared to an even distribution of activity throughout the day.

On the other hand, we find that there is there was no significant difference in insulin resistance between morning activity and the activity is spread evenly throughout the day. These results suggest that the time at which sports activity is performed has a real effect on insulin sensitivity. “However, the researchers added that further studies should assess whether the timing of physical activity is really important for the onset of type 2 diabetes,” the study concluded.


Time of physical activity in relation to liver fat content and insulin resistance, Diabetologia, November 1, 2022.


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