Found to reduce or reverse the loss in heart function caused by type 2 diabetes, this may be the best workout for people with type 2 diabetes…

If you have type 2 diabetes, it’s worth your effort to try high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

University of Otago researchers found that three months of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) improved heart function in adults with type 2 diabetes, without any change in medications or diet.

“Our research has found that exercise at sufficiently high intensity may provide an inexpensive, practical way to reverse, or reduce the loss in heart function caused by type 2 diabetes,” says Genevieve Wilson, a former PhD student who carried out the study under the supervision of Dunedin School of Medicine’s Dr Chris Baldi and cardiologist Dr Gerry Wilkins.

What is a HITT workout?

High-intensity interval training involves short intervals of near maximal effort exercise, like sprinting or stair climbing, separated by intervals of moderate intensity exercise, like jogging, or fast walking.

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The goal was for people to spend 10 minutes doing very high intensity (vigorous) activity during a 25-minute exercise period.

How high-intensity exercise helps diabetics

Beating the impaired function of the diabetic heart

Increasing aerobic capacity through exercise is arguably the best prevention for heart disease and exercise is a cornerstone of diabetic treatment.

However, the impaired function of the diabetic heart often makes it harder for people with diabetes to exercise effectively and it was not known whether they would train this hard.

Fortunately, the study showed that the high-intensity exercise programme for middle-aged adults with type 2 diabetes was safe and acceptable and also well-attended, with a greater than 80 per cent adherence rate over the three months.

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Source: University of Otago via

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