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Short exercise bursts

It can be hard to fit in exercise into our busy lives. A small study from the University of Edinburgh has shown that even a small burst of exercise can be of help.

Short “high intensity interval training” (HIT) on an exercise bike every two days, showed a significant difference on the body’s ability to metabolize sugars.

Video: What is high intensity interval training?

The exercise study

The researchers studied the effect of high-intensity interval training (HIT) on the insulin action and glycemic control of 16 sedentary male volunteers aged from 19 to 23 years old.

The volunteers did a total of only 15 minutes of HIT exercise over two weeks. They had 6 sessions where they did 4 to 6 high intensity sprints of no more than 30 seconds on an exercise bike.

The researchers measured aerobic and metabolic performance before and after the training. The results after 2 weeks showed improvement in aerobics and metabolic factors, including:

  • blood glucose levels reduced by 12%
  • insulin reduced by 37%
  • fatty acids reduced by 26%
  • insulin sensitivity, as measured by the Cederholm index, improved by 23%.
  • aerobic cycling performance improved by 6%.

What the researchers say …

Lead researcher Professor Timmons said “Unfortunately, many people feel they simply don’t have the time to follow current exercise guidelines. What we have found is that doing a few intense muscle exercises, each lasting only about 30 seconds, dramatically improves your metabolism in just two weeks.

They wrote in conclusion, “The efficacy of a high intensity exercise protocol, involving only ~250 kcal of work each week, to substantially improve insulin action in young sedentary subjects is remarkable.”

The study was published in BMC Endocrine Disorders journal.

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4 Responses to “Short bursts of exercise can help”

  1. Alan says:

    How much time on an ex bike should it take to lower blood glucose readings ? in particular how much exercise should I do before breakfast, I use a treadmill and and ex bike.

  2. John S. says:

    Your fasting blood sugar upon awakening in the morning should be 70-100 mg/dl. And the lower the better. If it’s over 100 then you have adult onset diabetes. More importantly you need to get your fasting insulin level measured. It should be less than 10.

    I don’t know how much exercise it will take to lower your blood sugar. It depends on your starting blood sugar level and the level of exercise I guess.

    Contrary to popular belief, adult onset diabetes is almost always totally curable with diet, supplements and exercise. Read this from Dr Ron Rosedale, a diabetes, leptin and aging expert.

    • Alan says:

      My readings in the morning first thing are about 7.9 to 8.9 mmol, Australian readings and later in the day after breakfast and exercise it runs at about 5.4 to 7.7 mmol. I am also taking 1 diabex xr 500 with my evening meal. I think my doctor might have to boost up the dose what do you think ?

  3. John S. says:

    I think you ought to get on a low carb, low glycemic index diet because then you could more than likely wean yourself off the diabetes medications. Find a good open minded complementary physician.

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About Kellie

Kellie is 37 years old and together with her brother Steve makes up the My Health Software team.

She helps on the websites and gathering news for the programs. Kellie worked in the medical industry prior to having her two children (8 and 6) and has a strong interest in self awareness and management of health conditions.


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