Trending >

Type 2 diabetes may be improved through intense exercise, says Canadian study

Is intense exercise good for diabetes patients? A relatively small study led by a researcher from the University of Laval suggests people with type 2 diabetes could benefit from short, intense bursts of exercise.

The findings, presented at the 2015 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Toronto recently, should signal that a more comprehensive study is warranted, says senior researcher Dr. Paul Poirier.

The randomized study examined 76 overweight patients with a mean age of 65 who were divided into two groups. The first group undertook a conventional exercise program in which they exercised for 30 minutes and looked to get their target heart rate to 60% of its maximum. The second group was enlisted in a exercise program that put them through three ten minute sessions of exercise designed to achieve a target heart rate of 85%.

Researchers found that after three months in the program there was a statistically significant difference between the health of the two groups. The improvements in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels in the latter group were a pleasant surprise to Poirier, he said.

“Quite frankly, the reduction in HbA1c was as good as adding a drug,” said Poirier. “From a class effect, when you have one antihyperglycemic drug, you’re treating only diabetes, but with the burst exercise, you’re treating diabetes and you’re also treating lipids.”

“Too many people think incorrectly that high-intensity exercise is only for athletes, that it’s a heart attack waiting to happen,” Jonathan P. Little, a specialist in exercise physiology at the University of British Columbia at Okanagan told The New York Times. “On the contrary, the research strongly suggests, it is more likely to reduce the risk of a heart attack.”

The findings come on the heels of a numerous other studies that suggest short-burst exercise is good for a variety of diseases and conditions.

A 2011 study at the University of Birmingham’s School of Sport and Exercise Sciences found that three minutes of intense exercise three times a week was equal to five one hour sessions. At least one researcher there thinks the findings may help create a solution for those who have had trouble adhering to the time constraints of a healthy lifestyle.

“We are now hoping to show the same beneficial effects in an obese population who are more at risk of type 2-diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” said that study’s supervisor Chris Shaw. “We hope that this time-efficient way of exercising can mean that even professionals with a hectic life can fit in health-promoting exercise and help challenge the ongoing rise of obesity and associated risk factors.”

Another U.K. study, this one from the University of Exeter showed that short, intense exercise reduced the risk of heart diseases in teenagers.

The buzzword for the type of training studied by the aforementioned researchers is HIIT, or high-intensity interval training. HIIT has been used by high-level athletes for years. But as studies such as one conducted in Denmark that reached the same finding as the more recent study lead by Poirier have trickled in, scientists are finding that people with most any cardiovascular condition can benefit from HIIT.

“Too many people think incorrectly that high-intensity exercise is only for athletes, that it’s a heart attack waiting to happen,” Jonathan P. Little, a specialist in exercise physiology at the University of British Columbia at Okanagan told The New York Times. “On the contrary, the research strongly suggests, it is more likely to reduce the risk of a heart attack.”

  •  
  •  
  •  

About The Author /

Cantech Letter founder and editor Nick Waddell has lived in five Canadian provinces and is proud of his country's often overlooked contributions to the world of science and technology. Waddell takes a regular shift on the Canadian media circuit, making appearances on CTV, CBC and BNN, and contributing to publications such as Canadian Business and Business Insider.

Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

RELATED POSTS

Cantech Alerts.

Timely picks from Canada's best analysts. 

F                                                                      
close-link