HIIT along with rowing and cycling can help type 2 diabetes patients lose weight, improve insulin sensitivity
The scientists concluded that HIIT can help in improving the blood sugar levels and can also help in losing weight effectively.
Diabetes is one of the major health burdens in the entire world. According to the International Diabetes Federation, more than 463 million adults in the age group of 20 to 79 years were living with diabetes in the year 2019.
Among these, a majority of people have been reported to have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the result of reduced insulin sensitivity in the body, which mostly occurs due to excess body weight and physical inactivity.
It is already known that physical activity helps in managing and preventing type 2 diabetes. However, it has been reported that most commonly practised aerobic exercises such as walking or jogging provide only 10 percent to 20 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity.
As per the new study, presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in September 2020, it was stated that insulin sensitivity, body composition and cardiorespiratory systems of people with obesity along with type 2 diabetes can be improved by combining high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with cycling and rowing.
Determining the effect of HIIT on obese and diabetic people
To determine the effects of HIIT, scientists from the Steno Diabetes Centre Odense, Odense, Denmark, enrolled 48 men in the study and divided them into three groups.
Out of the 48, 15 participants were obese with an average Body Mass Index (BMI) of 31 (kg/m2) and had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The other two groups had non-diabetic participants, out of which 15 were obese with an average BMI of 31 and the rest 18 were lean with an average BMI of 24.
Body mass index, also known as BMI, is a way to measure whether or not a person is overweight or obese. An adult with a BMI that is between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered healthy, between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight and 30 or over is considered obese.
All the participants underwent a highly supervised HIIT programme, which lasted for eight weeks. The participants had three training sessions per week, which were combined with cycling and rowing.
The effects of the training programme were evaluated with the help of Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans to determine the body changes, VO2 max tests to measure the amount of oxygen utilised during the session and euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamps along with indirect calorimetry to determine insulin sensitivity and metabolism.
The results of the study
In the beginning, people with diabetes showed around 35 to 37 percent reduction in insulin sensitivity as compared with the non-diabetic subjects.
However, after eight weeks of HIIT, the insulin sensitivity in lean men and those with only obesity was 32 to 37 percent on average whereas the average for the diabetic group was found to be 44 percent.
The scientists further found that after the training, the fasting blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes were also reduced. The HbA1c results, which measures the average level of blood sugar over the past 2 to 3 months, also showed a decline.
The body fat mass was reduced by 1.6 to 2.3kg in all three groups.
The VO2max results showed that oxygen utilisation increased by 10 percent in lean and obese people with no diabetes, while it increased to 15 percent in people with type 2 diabetes.
The scientists concluded that HIIT can help in improving the blood sugar levels and can also help in losing weight effectively. It is believed that the short bursts of intense anaerobic exercise with short recovery periods in between may prove to be better for people with obesity and diabetes in managing their condition.
For more information, read our article on High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
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