Type 2 Diabetes – Does Interval Training Help to Treat and Control Blood Sugar Levels?

Physical activity is important for effectively treating Type 2 diabetes and the relevant increase in blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, about two-thirds of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes feel they lack time to exercise as much as they have been advised to. One scientist at Kohnodai Hospital in Chiba, Japan, might have the answer.

According to the Current Diabetes Review for November of 2016, Dr. H. Hamasaki reviewed eight studies showing exercising for short intervals throughout the day is also an excellent way to help control high and unstable blood sugar levels. Dr. Hamasaki warns little is known about the safety of interval training in people who have received a diabetes diagnosis and find they also have heart and blood vessel disease. Interestingly, the studies reveal some differences. Recommending a particular form and duration of interval training for high blood sugar levels is not yet feasible, and the investigator suggests more research is warranted.

Speaking of heart and blood vessel disease research undertaken at the University of British Columbia and Kelowna General Hospital in Canada shows resistance-based interval exercise is good for blood vessels in people with Type 2 diabetes. In November of 2016, the American Journal of Physiology Heart Circulation Physiology reported interval exercise improves blood vessel function: at least for a short time. Twelve Type 2 diabetic participants were randomly assigned to perform…

  • cardiovascular interval training or
  • resistance interval training or
  • to sit still.

Blood vessel function in the arms improved in both the cardiovascular interval training group and the resistance interval training group compared with the sitting participants.

Cardiovascular or aerobic training is designed for fitness. Fitness is defined as the maximum amount of oxygen the body can take in and use during physical activity. Activities that put us into motion making our pulse and breathing faster are aerobic or cardiovascular. Resistance activity, or muscle training, consists of moving against an opposing force.

Examples of cardiovascular training for a short time include…

  • walking from the parking lot to the building,
  • dancing around the living room, or
  • cheering on your team.

Examples of muscle training for short intervals are…

  • carrying groceries,
  • rearranging furniture, or
  • lifting small children

As Dr. Hamasaki mentioned, how much and how intense interval training should be is not yet defined. Before starting an exercise program, see your doctor for a checkup. If you feel chest pain or any other discomfort, stop your activity and call your doctor or first responders immediately.


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