The effects of interval- vs. continuous exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and substrate oxidation in subjects with type 2 diabetes

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  • Rigshospitalet University of Copenhagen


BACKGROUND: For unknown reasons, interval training often reduces body weight more than energy-expenditure matched continuous training. We compared the acute effects of time-duration and oxygen-consumption matched interval- vs. continuous exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), substrate oxidation rates and lipid metabolism in the hours following exercise in subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

METHODS: Following an overnight fast, ten T2D subjects (M/F: 7/3; age=60.3±2.3years; body mass index (BMI)=28.3±1.1kg/m(2)) completed three 60-min interventions in a counterbalanced, randomized order: 1) control (CON), 2) continuous walking (CW), 3) interval-walking (IW - repeated cycles of 3min of fast and 3min of slow walking). Indirect calorimetry was applied during each intervention and repeatedly for 30min per hour during the following 5h. A liquid mixed meal tolerance test (MMTT, 450kcal) was consumed by the subjects 45min after completion of the intervention with blood samples taken regularly.

RESULTS: Exercise interventions were successfully matched for total oxygen consumption (CW=1641±133mL/min; IW=1634±126mL/min, P>0.05). EPOC was higher after IW (8.4±1.3l) compared to CW (3.7±1.4l, P<0.05). Lipid oxidation rates were increased during the MMTT in IW (1.03±0.12mg/kg per min) and CW (0.87±0.04mg/kg per min) compared with CON (0.73±0.04mg/kg per min, P<0.01 and P<0.05, respectively), with no difference between IW and CW. Moreover, free fatty acids and glycerol concentrations, and glycerol kinetics were increased comparably during and after IW and CW compared to CON.

CONCLUSIONS: Interval exercise results in greater EPOC than oxygen-consumption matched continuous exercise during a post-exercise MMTT in subjects with T2D, whereas effects on substrate oxidation and lipid metabolism are comparable.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1316–1325
Number of pages10
Issue number9
Early online date31 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


  • Walking, interval walking, EPOC, lipid metabolism, lipolysis, free fatty acid, glycerol