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Interval training boosts effect of insulin, research suggests

Type 2 diabetes patients could help manage their blood sugar levels better through interval training, new research has found.

Walking at different speeds or intensities may work out better than walking at a constant pace, suggests Danish research published in the journal Diabetologia.

The effects of optimal exercise intensity and the types of exercise themselves are not so well-defined in type 2 cases. While high-intensity exercise has not been recommended for people with type 2 diabetes due to fears over injuries or people not continuing with training schedules, more intense workouts were found to improve glycaemic control more than low-intensity exercise.

Study leader Dr Thomas Solomon, from the University of Copenhagen, found interval walking training (IWT) improved blood sugar control compared with continuous walking training (CWT), even when the same energy was expended.

Type 2 patients were put into three groups − one taking part in IWT, one in a matched-energy rate CWT group, and a control.

After several managed exercise sessions, improved blood sugar control was only evident in the IWT group, sparked by increases in insulin sensitivity and increased peripheral sugar disposal. The CWT and control groups saw no changes.

The authors found that this meant intervals led to increased insulin sensitivity without a drop in insulin secretion, boosting the effect of insulin in blood sugar.

They did say that the long-term effects of this phenomenon had yet to be determined before the use of intervals could be proven in clinical treatment terms.

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