Short intensive exercise sessions boost beta cell function in type 2 diabetes, study reports

Jack Woodfield
Thu, 01 Jun 2017
Short intensive exercise sessions boost beta cell function in type 2 diabetes, study reports
Short bursts of high intensity fitness training could help improve the body's ability to produce insulin in people with type 2 diabetes, research has suggested.

It is the first time a study has focused on functional movement and resistance training workouts (F-HIT) and how it affects insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, the scientists report.

F-HIT combines gymnastics, weight lifting and aerobic exercise in short sessions over a regular period.

"Adults with [type 2 diabetes] may find it difficult to adhere to a strict exercise regimen, citing 'lack of time' as one of the primary barriers," said researchers from the Cleveland Lerner Clinic Research Institute. "F-HIT programs [...] may address this barrier by providing structure, supervision and accountability, with a minimal time commitment."

A total of 12 people aged 53 years, on average, who all had type 2 diabetes were recruited for the six-week trial, which was carried out by the American Physiological Society (APS).

The participants were asked to complete three exercise sessions a week made up of a variety of activities. They were also given an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) prior to each training session. Another test, known as the mean Disposition Index (DI), was also carried out to test beta cell function.

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

The findings showed there were significant improvements in their beta-cell and liver functions of the volunteers. Additionally, their exercise capacity increased and they all lost weight.

The researchers concluded: "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 findings were published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.
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