High-intensity exercise may help combat diabetes risk

Indulging in high-intensity interval training may be an efficient, effective way of reducing the risk of developing diabetes, especially among women.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose) and is characterised by high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and relative lack of insulin.

The findings showed that high-intensity interval training has the potential to decrease the levels of insulin and glucose in blood.

This reduction was regardless of people’s levels of insulin resistance — a key warning sign for diabetes, said Mikel Izquierdo, professor at the Public University of Navarre (UPNA), Spain.

Higher insulin resistance means the body starts failing to respond to insulin — a hormone which helps our body’s process glucose in muscles and liver, failure in which causes diabetes.

The exercise sessions also brought about positive changes in cardio metabolic health metrics, the researchers said.

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology, the team recruited adult women who led a sedentary lifestyle and were at risk for Type-2 diabetes mellitus.

These women underwent a 10-week programme of high-intensity interval training.

More women in the higher-risk group saw benefits from the exercise programme, particularly when it came to their blood pressure and the levels of glucose and insulin found in their blood.

Women in both groups lost weight and body fat after the exercise programme.

Previous studies have shown that high-intensity interval training (or cardio) like running and walking, improved muscle protein content enhancing energetic functions and causing muscle enlargement, especially in older adults.