Study: Diabetics Can Lower Blood Sugar with Brief, High-Intensity Workouts

Brief, High-Intensity Workouts lower blood sugar

Researchers at McMaster University recently found that brief high intensity workouts, such as those done on Whole Body Vibration Machines, can help lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetics in as little as six sessions over two weeks. By putting in 30 minutes of high-intensity intermittent exercise per week, involving a total time commitment of 75 minutes, diabetics can lower 24-hour blood sugar concentrations, reduced blood sugar spikes after meals, and increased skeletal muscle mitochondrial capacity.

These findings are intriguing because they suggest that exercising very strenuously for short periods of time, may provide many of the same health benefits as traditional exercise training, says Martin Gibala, professor in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster and supervising author of the study. This is the first study to show that intense interval training may be a potent, time-efficient strategy to improve glycemic regulation in people with type 2 diabetes.

For the two-week study, researchers gave each volunteer a baseline exam to test blood sugar over a 24-hour period, assess fitness levels and take biopsies of thigh muscle to measure proteins linked to health status. Each workout involved riding a stationary bike for 10 bouts of 60 seconds at roughly 90 percent of maximal heart rate, with one minute between each burst of exercise. The routine also included a warm up and cool down such that each training session lasted 25 minutes in total.

Participants showed improved blood sugar levels even though they did not lose weight. The improved glycemic control could be associated with changes in the muscles, including an improved ability for clearing blood glucose following meals.