Health Futures Institute

Managing glucose and weight through exercise

Exercise is a cornerstone for the prevention and management of Type 2 Diabetes. However, until now, when to exercise to derive the greatest benefit was unknown. This study found that involvement in a structured exercise program is not only key to improving blood glucose levels, but that this exercise can be performed at any time of day to have a profound impact on blood glucose levels.


Areas of research

Healthy Ageing, Type 2 Diabetes

Technology utilised


Lead researchers

Associate Professor Timothy Fairchild


What was the need for this project?

Prevalence of diabetes increases with age. In Australia, the highest prevalence of diabetes in any age-category is 19.4% in people over the age of 85 years. Globally, this is placing a tremendous burden on the public health sector with almost one third of adults over 65 years having diabetes. Estimates project these numbers will double over the next few decades.

Although exercise is acknowledged as a key component in both prevention and management of Type 2 diabetes, we still lack broad understanding regarding implementation of exercise programs. There are key unanswered questions concerning the best type of exercise, the required duration of exercise, frequency of exercise or intensity of exercise for individuals with Diabetes to reap benefits of exercise training.


How the project was completed

The research was conducted at Murdoch University with national and international collaborators. The team enrolled individuals into a 12-week supervised exercise training program performed either in the morning or in the evening.

It was found that exercise at any time of day had a profound improvement on blood glucose levels, with a number of individuals shifting out of the category of diabetes. The research was embedded within a PhD project undertaken by Dr Shaun Teo, who is now investigating whether manipulation of both diet and exercise are required for better health outcomes in individuals with Type 2 diabetes.The new molecular plug has been developed in Dr Veedu’s laboratory, the only facility in WA capable of producing these aptamers with desired chemical tags in multiple scales using state-of-the-art oligonucleotide synthesisers.


Results and achievements for this project

The research group has previously shown exercise after meals is more effective than exercise performed before meals. We now know that the time of day does not appear to be important.

This is great news for anyone hoping to embark on an exercise program, since it removes another factor from the equation and enables the individual to choose the time which best fits their schedule, ultimately increasing the likelihood of longer-term success.


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