Improved insulin sensitivity after a single bout of exercise is curvilinearly related to exercise energy expenditure

Faidon Magkos, Yannis Tsekouras, Stavros A. Kavouras, Bettina Mittendorfer, Labros S. Sidossis

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48 Scopus citations


A single bout of moderate-intensity exercise increases whole-body insulin sensitivity for 12-48 h post-exercise; however, the relationship between exercise energy expenditure and the improvement in insulin sensitivity is not known. We hypothesized that the exercise-induced increase in whole-body insulin sensitivity, assessed with HOMAIR (homoeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance), is directly related to the energy expended during exercise. We studied 30 recreationally active non-obese men (age, 27 ± 5 years; body mass index, 24 ± 2 kg/m2) in the post-absorptive state on two separate occasions: once after exercising at 60% of V̇O2peak (peak oxygen consumption) for 30-120 min on the preceding afternoon (expending a total of 1.28-5.76 MJ) and once after an equivalent period of rest. Blood samples were obtained the following morning. Exercise-induced changes in HOMAIR were curvilinearly related to exercise energy expenditure (r = -0.666, P = 0.001) with a threshold of approx. 3.77 MJ (900 kcal) for improvements in HOMAIR to be manifested. In particular, HOMA IR was reduced by 32 ± 24 % (P = 0.003) in subjects who expended more than 3.77 MJ during exercise, but did not change for those who expended fewer than 3.77 MJ (-2 ± 21%; P = 0.301). Furthermore, the magnitude of change in HOMAIR after exercise was directly associated with baseline (i.e. resting) HOMAIR (r = -0.508, P = 0.004); this relationship persisted in multivariate analysis. We conclude that improved whole-body insulin resistance after a single bout of exercise is curvilinearly related to exercise energy expenditure, and requires unfeasible amounts of exercise for most sedentary individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008



  • Energy expenditure
  • Exercise
  • Glucose disposal
  • Homoeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA)
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Oxygen consumption (V̇o)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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