Intermittent exercise improves blood glucose control for diabetics

February 2, 2012

Intermittent exercise with and without low oxygen concentrations (or hypoxia) can improve insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetics, however exercise while under hypoxic conditions provides greater improvements in glycemic control than intermittent exercise alone, according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Exercise improves glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have focused on continuous aerobic exercise with more recent work assessing resistance exercise. There are few studies that assess the effects of intermittent exercise on glucose tolerance and in type 2 diabetes.

"Current guidelines suggest that health benefits can be gained when patients with type 2 diabetes spend 30 minutes exercising each day, but published data has failed to show intermittent exercise to be effective," said Richard Mackenzie, PhD, of the University of Westminster in London, U.K., and lead author of the study. "Here we have shown that intermittent exercise seems to improve the glucose profiles of type 2 diabetics with a greater positive effect when intermittent exercise is combined with mild , similar to doing the exercise at altitudes of 2500 meters."

In this study, eight men with type 2 diabetes completed three exercise trials: 60 minutes of continuous exercise in hypoxia, intermittent exercise in hypoxia and intermittent exercise in a normal oxygen environment. After each exercise trial, study participants returned to the laboratory for measurement of blood glucose and plasma levels. Researchers found that both intermittent and continuous exercise with and without hypoxia consistently demonstrated improvements in insulin sensitivity.

"A combination of moderately reduced oxygen levels with exercise can significantly improve the body's ability to respond to insulin in type 2 diabetic patients over exercise alone," said Dr. Mackenzie. "Our findings suggest the possible use of exercise with mild hypoxic for the treatment of type 2 ."

Explore further: Exercise pivotal in preventing and fighting type II diabetes

More information: The article, "Intermittent Exercise with and without Hypoxia Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes," appears in the April 2012 issue of JCEM.

Related Stories

Exercise pivotal in preventing and fighting type II diabetes

February 7, 2007

One in three American children born in 2000 will develop type II diabetes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A new study at the University of Missouri-Columbia says that acute exercise ...

Sleep apnea may increase insulin resistance

May 17, 2010

Sleep apnea may cause metabolic changes that increase insulin resistance, according to researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. The intermittent hypoxia associated with sleep apnea causes a distinct drop ...

Recommended for you

Bacteria in smokeless tobacco products may be a health concern

August 26, 2016

Several species of bacteria found in smokeless tobacco products have been associated with opportunistic infections, according to a paper published August 26 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American ...

Is tailgating toxic?

August 26, 2016

While tailgating this football season you may want to take a step back from the grill and generator—for your health.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.