Short, High Intensity Workouts Enhance Type 2 Insulin Production

Functional high-intensity training (F-HIT) may enhance beta cell function in people with type 2 diabetes, according to new research published in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism.

In the pancreas, beta cells produce, store, and release the insulin our body needs to effectively utilize sugar for energy. While earlier studies revealed aerobic exercise can improve beta cell function, this recent small study is the first to assess the impact of short-term high intensity training on beta cell effectiveness.

Twelve adults with type 2 diabetes - average age 53 - participated in the research by doing a six-week program of F-HIT conducted by a certified CrossFit trainer. F-HIT workouts utilize a variety of movements such as gymnastics, weight lifting, and aerobic activities. The participants attended three F-HIT sessions per week; one of the weekly sessions was a high-intensity workout—pushing the subjects to above 85 percent of their maximum target heart rates.

Before and after the six weeks, beta cell function was measured using oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs). Body fat, weight, and fitness progress were evaluated as well.

The assessment data showed the short-term F-HIT regimen provided substantial improvements in beta cell, and liver function, and enhanced participants’ fitness levels. The subjects also showed a decrease in weight and body fat. “Here we show that exercise at high intensity for as little as 10 to 20 minutes per day, three days a week for six weeks improves beta-cell function in adults with [type 2 diabetes],” wrote the study’s authors.

Researchers note that individuals with type 2 diabetes who struggle with sticking to a strict exercise routine, and (or) find “lack of time” a workout barrier may enjoy F-HIT programs. They offer structure, supervision, and accountability with limited time commitment.

Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: U.S. Army Europe

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