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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Intense but brief exercise helps prevent diabetes

Exercising harder, but in a significantly shorter amount of time, could provide significant benefits to Type 2 diabetes patients similar to longer, but more moderate, activity, a new study has suggested.

Regular exercise has proven benefits in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes, but many patients find it tough to meet the American Diabetes Association guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise a week.

Now, researchers at McMaster University have suggested harder, but shorter exercise as an effective alternative.

In a small proof-of-principle study in eight type 2 diabetes patients, the researchers found that exercising at a very high intensity, but for a mere 30 minutes a week within a 75 minute total time commitment, lowered overall blood sugar concentrations, reduced post-meal blood sugar spikes, and increased skeletal mitochondrial capacity, a marker of metabolic health.

These findings suggest that exercising at a very high exertion level, but for a decreased amount of time, could have significant benefits for diabetic patients that rival those of traditional, but lengthy, periods of moderate exercise.

“Given that the majority of individuals with and without type 2 diabetes do not accumulate sufficient exercise to achieve health benefits, and the most common cited barrier to regular exercise is a lack of time, our results suggest that low-volume high-intensity training may be a viable, time-efficient strategy to improve health in patients with type 2 diabetes,” the researchers concluded.

The study appears in the current edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology, published by the American Physiological Society.

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