Treatment

Simple leg exercises in the gym helps ward off type 2 diabetes complications

by Barbara Hewitt on January 17, 2017

Just one session of interval weight training can help to decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes complications, according to a new study.

Exercise and lifestyle change is known to help combat the condition and with lots of people starting the New Year with a health kick the Canadian researchers say that a series of simple exercises in the gym can really make a difference.

Exercise Leg PressSimple leg exercises involving weights can improve blood vessel function of people with and without diabetes, according to the research from scientists at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

‘Individuals with type 2 diabetes are up to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those without. After completion of just one bout of exercise, we saw an improvement in blood vessel function, an indicator of heart health and heart attack risk,’ said Jonathan Little, assistant professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

‘With further study, this information could provide a new safe and cost effective tool to help people manage their disease,’ he added.

In the study the research team compared the effect of two types of interval training, resistance using the leg press, extensions and lifts, and cardiovascular exercise using stationary bicycles, on blood vessel function. Both of these alternated periods of high and low intensity effort.

Some 35 participants were split into three groups, those with type 2 diabetes, non-exercisers, and regular exercisers without diabetes. Each group performed a 20 minute exercise routine which included a warm up and seven one minute, high intensity efforts with a one minute rest between each interval.

‘All exercisers showed greater blood vessel function improvement after the resistance based interval training. However, this was most prominent in the type 2 diabetes group,’ said co-author Monique Francois.

‘Resistance training was introduced to this group because it’s relatively easy and can accommodate individuals who are new to exercising. This study shows that resistance based interval training exercise is a time efficient and effective method with immediate effects,’ she pointed out.

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, there are 11 million Canadians living with diabetes or prediabetes, a chronic, debilitating, and sometimes fatal disease, in which the body cannot produce insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of sugar in the blood.

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The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.