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Stair climbing/descending exercise for a short time decreases blood glucose levels after a meal in people with type 2 diabetes
  1. Hiroto Honda1,2,
  2. Makoto Igaki1,
  3. Yuki Hatanaka1,
  4. Motoaki Komatsu1,
  5. Shin-ichiro Tanaka1,
  6. Tetsuo Miki1,
  7. Taiga Suzuki2,
  8. Tetsuo Takaishi3,
  9. Tatsuya Hayashi2
  1. 1Toyooka Hospital Hidaka Medical Center, Toyooka, Japan
  2. 2Laboratory of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
  3. 3Graduate School of Natural Sciences, Nagoya City University, Nagoya, Japan
  1. Correspondence to Professor Tatsuya Hayashi; tatsuya{at}


Objective We examined whether stair climbing–descending exercise (ST-EX), a convenient method to increase physical activity in daily life, for a short period would acutely improve the postprandial blood glucose (BG) response in people with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Methods 16 people with T2D (age 65.4±1.1 years) participated in 2 separate sessions. After an overnight fast, each participant consumed a test meal and then kept resting for 180 min, except when performing each 3 min bout of ST-EX at 60 and 120 min after the meal (ST-EX session), or kept resting for 180 min (REST session). ST-EX comprised 6 continuous repetitions of climbing to the second floor (21 steps) at a rate of 80–110 steps/min followed by walking down slowly to the first floor at a free step rate.

Results The BG at 60 min after the meal during the ST-EX session (immediately before the first ST-EX) did not differ from that during the REST session, but analysis of variance revealed a significant interaction between time and treatment (p<0.01). The BG at 150 min after the meal (30 min after the second ST-EX) was significantly lower than that during the REST session (p<0.01). The area under the curve was also 18% lower during the ST-EX session than during the REST session (p<0.05). The heart rate and blood lactate levels indicated that the actual intensity of ST-EX was ‘hard’. In contrast, the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) indicated that the overall intensity of ST-EX was ‘moderate’ because of decreased RPE scores during descent.

Conclusions The present findings suggest that performing 3 min ST-EX 60 and 120 min after a meal may be a useful strategy to accelerate the decrease in postprandial BG levels in people with T2D.

  • Exercise
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Skeletal Muscle Metabolism
  • Postprandial Blood Glucose

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    American Diabetes Association