Short bursts of exercise improve the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels in people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, according to a Finnish study.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves brisk bouts of intense exercise followed by rest periods, and has been shown to have metabolic benefits.
Researchers from the University of Turku demonstrated that the fitness regime improves insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control among those with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Men aged in their forties and fifties who were classed as healthy were compared against those who had prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Both groups were divided into a HIIT training programme as well as a moderate-intensity regime. The training regimes took place over two weeks and both involved six sessions.
HIIT was found to have greater short-term benefits, such as better endurance, than moderate-intensity exercise, but both forms of training had similar benefits to people with prediabetes.
The type 2 diabetes group all had impaired levels of glucose metabolism and sensitivity to insulin before they took part in the exercise, but they experienced improved blood glucose levels at the end of the study.
Those with prediabetes who performed moderate-intensity exercise experienced half of the improvements compared to the HIIT diabetes group after two weeks, but over a longer time span they went on to achieve the same levels of improvement.
Lead researcher Tanja Sjöros added that HIIT brought benefits in terms of saving time, but noted both techniques, especially when combined, can reap health gains.
“Everyone can choose the type of training that suits them best. In general, you can achieve the best results for your body by using both training methods,” she said.
The results of the study were published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

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