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High-Intensity Interval Training Linked to Improved Metabolic Health

More than 80% of people with type 2 diabetes are obese or overweight. A recent study suggests that small, short bursts of exercise — known as high-intensity interval training — in a row are more effective than longer forms of exercise at delaying and managing type 2 diabetes as well as losing weight.


For this study, researchers examined data from 50 studies that included the following: training periods equal to or greater than two weeks, adult participants, and outcome measurements that included insulin resistance, fasting glucose, HbA1c or fasting insulin. They did not include any studies that had dual interventions or participants with type 1 diabetes.


The researchers found that high-intensity interval training was associated with a greater reduction in insulin resistance when compared with control conditions or continuous training. They also noted a greater decrease in HbA1c and body weight in the high-intensity interval training groups when compared with control groups. Finally, participants with type 2 diabetes in the high-intensity groups had reduced fasting glucose levels when compared with participants with type 2 diabetes in the control groups.


Researchers from the University of Leicester conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on October 20, 2015, in Obesity Reviews.


High-intensity interval training is a type of exercise that involves rotations of strenuous exercise with less strenuous exercise. Studies suggest that it is an effective way to both lose weight and build muscle.

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