Does Walking Affect Fasting Glucose in Type 2 Diabetes?

Miriam E. Tucker, for Medscape

March 08, 2023

The study covered in this summary was published in medRxiv as a preprint and has not yet been peer reviewed.

Key Takeaways

  • In a study of Ugandan adults with noninsulin-treated type 2 diabetes, fasting plasma glucose was not meaningfully affected by prolonged walking.

  • The reliability of fasting glucose for monitoring glycemia is unlikely to be altered in patients who walk to the clinic.

Why This Matters

  • Fasting glucose is widely used to assess glycemic control in people living with diabetes in low-income countries because A1c and home glucose monitoring are often unaffordable.

  • In these settings, people with diabetes often walk long distances to receive healthcare, but little is known about the impact of walking on fasting glucose.

Study Design

  • A randomized crossover trial that compared change in glucose from baseline in the fasting state, assessed at two separate visits, between walking on a treadmill at 4.5 km/hour for 1 hour versus resting/not walking.

  • Participants were 45 noninsulin-treated adults with type 2 diabetes; most (77.8%) were treated with sulfonylurea, with or without metformin.

Key Results

  • Walking for 1 hour was not associated with changes in fasting glucose after 60 minutes of exercise or after an additional hour of rest.

  • Compared with the resting visit, glucose change from baseline (pre-intervention) with exercise was –0.15mmol/L (P = .48) and –0.10mmol/L (P = .64) at 60 and 120 minutes, respectively.

  • Glucose difference was similar across all other post-baseline timepoints.

  • Walking was not associated with differences in overall post-baseline glycemia.

  • In a mixed-effects model, there was no difference in glucose levels between visits (P = .67) over the 3 hours post-baseline, and the addition of exercise to the model did not explain further variability in glucose levels (P = .25).


  • The authors did not provide study limitations.


  • Study funding: National Institute for Health and Care Research, UK.

  • Author disclosures: None.

This is a summary of a preprint research report, "The impact of prolonged walking on fasting plasma glucose in type 2 diabetes: A randomised controlled crossover study," by Anxious J. Niwaha, PhD, of the University of Exeter Medical School, UK, and the Medical Research Council/ Uganda Virus Research Institute and Uganda Research Unit, Entebbe, and colleagues. This study has not yet been peer reviewed.


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