Today, Thursday, August 22, 2019

Want to CURE Diabetes? Intense Exercise is the Answer

Doctors always recommend that their patients with diabetes begin to eat a better diet and start exercising regularly. That’s because the majority of people who acquire diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, are overweight and sedentary.

Studies have shown that both exercise and dietary changes will lower blood sugar levels, both in patients who have already been diagnosed with diabetes and those who are at risk. In fact, if you add exercise to your lifestyle, you have the potential to delay or entirely prevent the disease from happening at all. The findings are based on the fact that when you exercise, your muscles call for more glucose, which means less is left in the bloodstream.

Unfortunately, even though diabetics know that a healthy diet and exercise can help lower glucose levels, the great majority fail to practice either. Reasons cited include a lack of time and motivation. Many newly diagnosed diabetics often find that jumping from a sedentary lifestyle to one with more exercise is simply too difficult.

Exercise and Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetics and those at risk for the disease have always been told that a diabetic diet and exercise are both needed to make progress toward keeping glucose levels in control. This hand-in-hand theory of diabetes and exercise has helped many diabetics get their blood sugar levels into the highly sought-after control range.

The majority of diabetics, however, are unable to religiously follow strict rules on what to eat and what not to eat, or to start and maintain a good exercise program. For many people it is just too much to do all at once. Another recent study found that instead of exercise plus diet being the best plan for diabetes control, it could be broken down to one or the other with equal results: exercise or diet. 

That is why a new Scottish study on diabetes and exercise may inspire those with diabetes, or at risk for diabetes, to try an exercise routine. This study had some extraordinary findings regarding the frequency and intensity of exercise and the effect on blood glucose.

The Scottish Study
It seems that intense exercise in very small doses has a very big effect on glucose levels. The study was not done with diabetics, but with young men who were considered to be very healthy but sedentary. The normal recommendations for exercise to prevent or control diabetes are usually a minimum of thirty minute sections of moderate exercise several times a week.

This new study turns the old theory of diabetes and exercise squarely on its head. For a long time there has actually been some confusion on the part of diabetics as what to do to in terms of diabetes and exercise to improve their glucose levels. That’s because it seems almost every month there is a study that offers new guidelines for how to lower glucose levels.

Findings from the study suggested it might be possible to eat a healthy diet without exercise and achieve the same results as someone struggling with eating a diabetic diet and exercising several times a week. Conversely, you might be able to only exercise and have the same glucose levels as someone who was combining diabetes and exercise/diet.

Those findings, however, have not yet been tested against a group of at-risk people who both exercise and eat a diabetic diet, which is for the most part low-sugar and low fat with fewer overall calories per day. 

New Findings on Diabetes and Exercise
The Scottish findings give diabetics even more information regarding what they can do in terms of diabetes and exercise to control their glucose levels more effectively. For people who claim not to have the time to exercise for a minimum of thirty minutes several times a week, fifteen minutes three times a week is considered sufficient. This almost cuts that original recommendation in half.

In the Scottish study, even though there was not complete agreement on what the best exercise routine might be, the results showed that three minutes of high-intensity exercise three times a week, or every other day had noticeable positive results in several areas that are routinely tested to measure glucose control.

In this research study, conclusions on diabetes and exercise were reached based on the participants completing a total of six exercise sessions of fifteen minutes each. During these sessions, it wasn’t a slow-paced effort on the part of participants. In fact, it was just the opposite--the exercise consisted of 4 - 6 thirty-second sprints over the 15-minute workout. The exercise was accomplished on a stationary bicycle.

These new findings on diabetes and exercise indicate that instead of having to exercise several hours a week to have results, people who are sedentary can improve their glucose levels just as efficiently with 1-½ hours of exercise per week. This would make it easier for those who have problems making lengthy time commitments to exercise.

It would also lower the risk of diabetes type 2 and heart disease among those who are currently at risk. This type of exercise, with short, high intensity spurts additionally increases overall aerobic fitness. The findings here indicated that glucose, insulin (sensitivity) and non-esterfied fatty acids were all reduced.

High Intensity Success
The authors of the Scottish study on diabetes and exercise concluded, “"Our findings warrant further studies investigating the effectiveness of high-intensity interval training in improving glycemic control in healthy middle-aged individuals at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and in patients with type 2 diabetes."

If the glucose levels after short periods of intense exercise continue to be excellent after further study, perhaps more people at risk for diabetes or with diabetes will opt to give exercise a try. The excuse that it takes too much time no longer apply. It’s not often that a group of people who are regularly told to exercise more are suddenly told to exercise less, but for diabetics, less is apparently more.  

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