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Brief, Intense Exercise Lowers Blood Sugar, Small Study Finds
Date:12/15/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Lack of time is a common reason cited for not exercising, but new research suggests that several short intensive workouts a week may help lower blood sugar levels similarly to longer, more regular exercise regimens.

The small, new study found that 30 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week -- a total exercise time of 75 minutes a week with warm-up and cool-down included -- could lower blood sugar levels for 24 hours after exercise, and help prevent post-meal blood sugar spikes in people with type 2 diabetes.

"If people are pressed for time -- and a lot of people say they don't have enough time to exercise -- our study shows that they can get away with a lower volume of exercise that includes short, intense bursts of activity," said the study's senior author, Martin Gibala, professor and chair of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada.

Results of the study are published in the December issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Experts already know that exercise can lower blood sugar levels, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Muscles use glucose as fuel, so any type of activity can bring blood sugar levels down. Exercise also helps the body use insulin more efficiently, which in turn, helps the body use more glucose.

Current recommendations from the American Diabetes Association suggest that people with diabetes should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each week. That's about 30 minutes a day, most days of the week.

But, not everyone has time to do that much exercise, Gibala noted. So he and his colleagues wanted to see if high-intensity exercise, done for a shorter time, could also have an impact on blood sugar levels.

The study included eight people with type 2 diabetes.
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