Blood Sugar

Exercise May be the Fastest Way to Decrease Blood Sugar and Insulin

by Mike Mutzel


Exercise is arguably one of the fastest ways to decrease blood sugar and insulin as well as prime the body to burn more fat. We review a recent paper that discusses the history and new research about exercise as a glucose- and insulin-lowering tool.






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Video Time Stamps:

00:05 Insulin resistance is the root cause of many of today’s premature deaths and chronic disease expression.

00:32 Moving/exercising, especially in the post meal window, makes changes that decrease glucose levels and make your skeletal muscle more sensitive to the effects of insulin. This leads to reduced insulin output by your pancreas.

01:40 Insulin is involved in post meal processing and anabolic reaction. It helps build. It helps replenish depleted glycogen. It helps, in the post exercise window, to increase amino acid biosynthesis.

01:58 Exercise is favorable, but it is catabolic, meaning that it tears down.

02:23 Post meal glycemic levels flatten with exercise. Diabetics tend to use less insulin on days when they exercise and blood sugar levels decrease more quickly.

04:48 During exercise your muscles become a glucose sponge; muscle glucose uptake increases in an intensity and duration dependent manner. Glucose is needed to make ATP in your muscles.

05:40 Exercise increases the expression and sensitivity of GLUT4 transporter. GLUT4 can be desensitized by persistent elevation of glucose levels.

09:35 Insulin is a potent inhibitor of adipose tissue lipolysis, the ability of your fat cells to release stored lipids.

10:10 Pre-workout or intra-workout carbohydrates may slow down your fat lipolysis, or fat burning. If fat loss is your goal, you may want to consider exercising in a fasted state.

11:30 When you exercise, your adrenal glands release adrenaline and noradrenaline. These enhance the liberation of stored fat from your fat cells to use for cellular energy when you exercise.

11:50 Fasting and exercise both elevate adrenals. Prolonged fasting and overexercising can be hard on your adrenals.

12:40 High insulin reduces the normally a progressive rise in free fatty acid oxidation during exercise.


Related: SARS-CoV-2 Sparks Fat Cell Inflammation that Drives Up Blood Sugar In Overweight Patients


13:15 One Legged Study: The exercised leg increased its muscle glycogen stores to levels twice that of the sedentary leg. Exercise increases the ability of your moving muscles to store glycogen.

13:50 When you move your muscles, you are depleting glycogen with the muscle. Exercise helps your muscles become more insulin sensitive by depleting glycogen within the muscle, causing muscles to be more insulin sensitive in the post exercise window. A glycogen-depleting workout is a good way to kickoff your fast.

15:25 After dinner starts your overnight fast. Perhaps you could take a brisk walk or lift weights before dinner to blunt the post meal glycemic index level.

15:50 Doing your post meal exercise when your post meal blood glucose level peaks, has the best ability to reduce glucose levels. This peak is most often 45 to 60 minutes after a meal.

16:23 Eat early. Sleep early. Eat your carbs commensurate with your physical activity level. Go for a walk after your meal.

17:15 Insulin sensitivity can be boosted for up to 48 hours after a single exercise session. Exercise increases the transport of glucose from the bloodstream into muscles by a factor of 34.

18:45 Eccentric exercise, slow descent, muscle damaging effects can cause a transient reduction in insulin sensitivity. Moderation is key.

19:40 You are most insulin sensitive in the morning. You become more insulin resistant as the day progresses. Exercise when you can. Afternoon resistance training can blunt your dinner glycemic index.

20:45 Sprinkle exercise throughout the day. Researchers call them exercise snacks. These snacks can be as simple as going for walks.

21:45 Big surges glycemic variability/glycemic levels are a big problem.


Richter, E. A., Sylow, L., Journal, M. H. B., 2021. (n.d.). Interactions between insulin and exercise. Biochemical Journal, 478, 3827–3846.

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