A Workout to Manage Diabetes

by Matt Weik

When illness falls on us or someone we love, it’s never easy. We often wonder what our next step should be. Research seems to keep coming back to the same answer—exercise and lifestyle. Exercise can do so much good for our overall health and wellbeing that it’s truly shocking that more people aren’t getting active.

New research is showing that through leg exercises alone (even just one session), blood vessel function can be improved. This is not only great news for those who are healthy, but even better news for those who suffer from Type 2 diabetes since they are four times more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease when compared to their healthy counterparts.

Once we fall ill, managing the disease or illness becomes extremely important. Researchers across the globe have said for years that not only is exercise a preventative measure, but it’s also the most cost-effective form of treatment.

Two Methods, One Conclusion

Researchers from the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus came together to conduct a study on blood vessel function through the use of two methods—resistance training and cardiovascular training. The resistance training method used leg press and leg extension movements while the cardiovascular training method was done using a stationary bike.

For this trial, researchers took 35 individuals and split them up into three different groups—non-exercisers, individuals with Type 2 diabetes, and currently healthy exercisers. Each participant was to exercise for 20 minutes. During the session, they were to warm up and then do seven one-minute bouts of high-intensity exercises using the protocols mentioned above. Between each bout, the individuals were to rest and recover for 1 minute.

Following the study, the researchers gathered the information to see what effects exercise had on the three of the groups. One researcher concluded that, “All exercisers showed greater blood vessel function improvement after the resistance-based interval training. However, this was most prominent in the Type 2 diabetes group. Resistance training was introduced to this group because it’s relatively easy and can accommodate individuals who are new to exercising. This study shows that resistance-based interval training exercise is a time-efficient and effective method with immediate effects.”

Monique E. Francois, Cody Durrer, Kevin J. Pistawka, Frank A. Halperin, Jonathan P. Little. Resistance-based interval exercise acutely improves endothelial function in type 2 diabetes. American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 2016; 311 (5): H1258 DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00398.2016 Pumping Iron Is Good for the Heart, Researchers Show. ScienceDaily. 11 Jan. 2017.