A high aerobic exercise capacity is associated with increased longevity. People with diabetes mellitus or pre-diabetes have reduced aerobic exercise capacity, but the mechanisms causing this reduction were unclear. Now, new research published in Nature Metabolism has described the exercise-related molecular and physiological changes that occur in response to hyperglycaemia.“Performing regular aerobic exercise is the best way to improve our aerobic fitness level,” explains corresponding author Sarah Lessard. “However, previous studies have shown that low aerobic fitness in people with metabolic disease is not due to reduced physical activity levels.” The present study set about improving our understanding in this area. To test their aims, the team used mouse models, as well as tissue culture experiments and data collected from human participants. The mouse models partially reflect two major causes of hyperglycaemia in humans, that is, diet-induced insulin resistance or reduced insulin secretion.
Credit: JamesBrey/GettyThe team report that hyperglycaemia can fundamentally change the response to aerobic exercise at the molecular and physiological levels. “We found that mice and humans with impaired glucose metabolism responded to aerobic exercise in a way that is more typical of resistance or strength training exercise,” explains Lessard. These findings indicate that chronic exposure to high glucose causes muscle signals to get crossed.” The authors note, however, that metabolic benefits such as improved glucose tolerance and decreased fat mass were observed with aerobic exercise training, even in models of chronic hyperglycaemia. “Based on this observation, this exercise modality should still be prescribed for maintaining or improving many indices of health,” concludes Lessard.“hyperglycaemia can fundamentally change the response to aerobic exercise”
The authors plan on investigating these mechanisms further with the aim of identifying strategies to improve the response to aerobic exercise in people with metabolic diseases.
Author informationAffiliationsNature Reviews EndocrinologyAlan MorrisCorresponding authorCorrespondence to
Alan Morris.About this articleCite this articleMorris, A. Hyperglycaemia changes response to aerobic exercise.
Nat Rev Endocrinol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41574-020-0403-3Download citation