Study heralds intensive exercise with intervals

Short bursts of intensive exercise provide a more “time-efficient” and realistic way of preventing, delaying and managing Type 2 diabetes and also losing weight, a study by our University and the NIHR Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit has found.

The research suggests that amounts of vigorous activity in quick successions are more “effective” compared to longer forms of exercise optimising the body’s ability to use and store blood sugar.

The study proposes high-intensity interval training (HIIT) as a: “time-efficient exercise intervention that may bring about similar benefits to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise”.

Researcher Charlotte Jelleyman from the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences said: “This study involved a meta-analysis of experimental research, allowing us to pull together evidence and establish cause and effect. We have demonstrated that HIIT conveys benefits to cardiometabolic health which in the cases of insulin resistance and aerobic fitness may be superior to the effect of traditional continuous training.

“HIIT may therefore be suitable as an alternative to continuous exercise training in the promotion of metabolic health and weight loss, particularly in those with Type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. However, given the identified limitations, more research is needed to determine both behavioural responses and clinical benefits over the longer term.”

The Leicester and the Leicester-Loughborough Diet, Lifestyle and Physical Activity Biomedical Research Unit is a national centre of excellence in diet, lifestyle and physical activity based in Leicester and Loughborough. It harnesses the power of experimental science to explore and develop ways to help prevent and treat chronic disease.

For more information about the study, visit the website.