March 8, 2006

Short sprint prevents low blood sugar postexercise

By Will Boggs, MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A 10-second maximal sprint
after moderate-intensity exercise reduces the risk of
postexercise hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in young people
with insulin-dependent (type 1) diabetes, according to a study.

This study, the researchers say, "provides the first
evidence that a short maximal sprint effort performed
immediately after moderate-intensity exercise is preferable to
only resting as a means to counter a further fall in glycemia
after exercise, thus decreasing the risk of early postexercise
hypoglycemia in individuals with type 1 diabetes."

"On this basis," they write in the journal Diabetes Care,
"one might tentatively recommend that after exercise of
moderate intensity, young individuals with complication-free
type 1 diabetes consider performing a short 10-second sprint to
counter a further fall in their blood glucose
level...particularly if a source of dietary carbohydrate is not
readily available."

But in comments to Reuters Health, study investigator Dr.
Paul A. Fournier cautioned that while the use of a 10-second
sprint "constitutes a novel and simple approach to decrease the
risk of post-exercise hypoglycemia that will revolutionize
blood glucose management in type 1 diabetes, it would be
premature and irresponsible at this stage to advocate its
widespread adoption, because much more research is required to
identify the target population of type 1 diabetic patients
likely to be responsive."

"So far," Fournier emphasized, "only healthy young
individuals have been tested in our study, and all have
responded positively."

Fournier, from the University of Western Australia,
Crawley, and colleagues investigated whether a 10-second
maximal sprint could counter the continual decline in blood
sugar during recovery from moderate-intensity exercise in seven
type 1 diabetic men, who were an average of 21 years old.

After 20 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, the
subjects experienced a rapid and significant decrease in blood
glucose levels, the authors report.

However, a 10-second maximal sprint immediately following
the moderate-intensity exercise stopped a further decline in
blood glucose levels for the next 2 hours, the results

In contrast, moderate-intensity exercise followed by a rest
period led to a further decrease in blood glucose levels.

Fournier notes that more study is needed in other groups of
type 1 diabetic patients such as children and sedentary
middle-aged individuals. "It is our view that the effect of
sprinting on reducing the risk of post-exercise hypoglycemia is
probably not as marked in children and sedentary middle-age
individuals with type 1 diabetes, in part, due to their reduced
capacity to engage in a maximal sprint effort," he told Reuters

SOURCE: Diabetes Care March, 2006.