Short bursts of high intensity interval training may provide a more realistic alternative for preventing and managing Type 2 diabetes, as well as promoting weight loss, according to a paper published in Obesity Reviews.
This was a meta-analysis, meaning researchers searched databases to review multiple studies examining the effects of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on specific health parameters. In this case, 50 studies were included in the research, paying particular attention to insulin resistance, blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, body weight, and cardiorespiratory fitness.
Researchers found short bursts of vigorous activity in quick succession to be more “effective” when compared to longer forms of exercise in regards to how the body uses and stores blood sugar.
A majority of individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are also classified as overweight or obese. Type 2 diabetes impacts your entire body: vision, kidneys, heart, etc. If you have high triglycerides, this is an indicator for greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Treatment plans for type II diabetes, high triglycerides, and weight management included diet and physical activity.
The effects of exercise on the body’s insulin sensitivity and ability to utilize blood sugar are well proven. The effects of exercise on weight management is debatable.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for weight loss recommend 200 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week for long-term weight loss. This equals roughly 30 to 45 minutes of activity daily. This may not seem significant, but research shows only five percent of people actually achieve this level of consistent activity.
This makes me think of the show The Biggest Loser and how so many past contestants have regained weight due to struggles sustaining workout durations once back in “the real world”.
Due to the challenges connected to lengthy workout recommendations for weight loss, this particular meta-analysis proposes HIIT. This more time-efficient method of exercise may bring about similar benefits to the standard model of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. HIIT results in improved cardiometabolic health. When it comes to insulin resistance and aerobic fitness, this may be more beneficial than our traditional long term moderate to vigorous activity guidelines.
Maintaining a HIIT routine long term may be a more viable option for many who struggle finding time to be active.
What counts as HIIT?
For this meta-analysis, any form of interval training that included high-intensity exercise categorized as vigorous was referred to as HIIT. If you want to get specific, vigorous activity is defined by the ACSM as 77-95% max heart.
Subtract your age from 220 to get your max heart rate. Multiple this number by 0.77 and 0.95 to obtain your goal heart rate range for HIIT.
For a 40-year-old:
220 – 40 = 180
Goal heart rate range during vigorous activity: 139 – 171 beats per minute
Sprint interval training is a well-defined form of HIIT, involving only 3 minutes of activity per session. This 3 minutes does not include periods of warm-up and cool-down. HIIT may also be described as aerobic interval training.
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Lisa Nelson RD
Health Pro for HealthCentral
P.S. There are health benefits connected to physical activity even when you do not lose weight.