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Metabolic health can be improved by three minute exercises

Researchers from Australia have found that metabolic health can be improved, certainly in the short term, by breaking up sitting periods with short periods of mild to moderate exercise.
Modern life means that many of us spend long periods of our days sitting down, whether we like it or not and few employers afford enough time for extended sessions within the working day.
In their study, the Australian researchers recruited 24 participants of both genders that were obese or overweight and had type 2 diabetes. The average age of the participants was 62 years old.
The experiment was conducted over eight hours on each of three different days. The study period included washout periods of at least six days in between each trial session. Each participant completed three different sessions which included eight hours of sitting.
In one session, participants were seated continuously for the eight hours. On another day, they completed three minutes of light-intensity walking once every 30 minutes. On another day, they completed three minutes of simple resistance exercises once every 30 minutes. The simple resistance exercises included calf raises, gluteal contractions, half-squats and knee raises.
The study was a random crossover trial which means that each participants took part in each of the three sessions and the order in which the type of session was carried out was randomised.
Levels of glucose, insulin, c-peptide and triglycerides were measured on each of the three study sessions. C-peptide is a hormone initially attached to the insulin molecule and therefore provides an alternative way to measure insulin levels.
The results showed that the short periods of light walking and resistance exercises each had a significant effect in lowering glucose, insulin and c-peptide. In the case of triglyceride levels, only the resistance exercises resulted in a significant reduction.
The study suggests that there are at least short term benefits to be had from short periods of exercise through an otherwise sedentary day.
A longer duration study would be needed to test the longer term benefits. However, short term benefits such as a lowering of blood glucose levels could prove to be helpful for improving productivity, motivation and general health. A reduction in insulin levels suggests potential for reducing levels of insulin resistance if maintained on a regular basis.

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