insulin production

Short burst of high intensity exercise could boost insulin production

by Barbara Hewitt on June 9, 2017

The body’s ability to produce insulin can be improved by short bursts of high intensity exercise which could help treat type 2 diabetes, new research suggests.

The study from the Cleveland Lerner Research Institute in the United States is the first of its kind to look at how movement and resistance training affects insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas.

(auremar/Bigstock.com)

It looked at functional movement and resistance training workouts, known as F-HIT which combines gymnastics, weight lifting and aerobic exercise in short sessions over a regular period.

The researchers pointed out that adults with type 2 diabetes  can find it hard to stick to a strict exercise regime with many saying that a lack of time prevents them doing so.

The study looked at 12 people with an average age of 53 with type 2 diabetes and put them through six weeks of training and concluded that an F-HIT programs may help by providing structure, supervision and accountability with a minimal time commitment.

Under the supervision of the American Physiological Society (APS), the study participants were asked to complete three exercise sessions a week made up of a variety of activities which included one high intensity sessions in which they exercised until they hit greater than 85% of their maximum target heart rate.

They were also given an oral glucose tolerance test before each training session and a Disposition Index test was also carried out on beta cell function. The research team took body fat and mass measurements before and after the F-HIT programme as well.

The fitness trainer overseeing the regime also tracked the number of sit-ups, squats and amount of rowing each person involved in the trial completed during the study in a bid to measure their fitness levels.

The results showed there were significant improvements in their beta cell and liver functions, their exercise capacity increased and they all lost weight.

‘Here we show that exercise at high intensity for as little as 10 to 20 minutes per day, three days a week for six weeks improves beta cell function in adults with type 2 diabetes,’ the research report concluded.

Previous research has shown that aerobic exercise, that is physical activity that raises heart rate, leads to improvements in beta-cell function and insulin secretion.

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