High-intensity interval training (HIIT) may quickly improve diabetics’ glucose metabolism, according to a new study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

The researchers examined the health impacts of HIIT and moderate-intensity training on healthy people and diabetics. Their hopeful results add to the long list of health benefits of the increasingly popular form of exercise.

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High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a form of exercise alternating between short bursts of intense activity and moving recovery. Photo courtesy of Pixabay

First, the scientists had a group of healthy men do either HIIT or a traditional, moderate-intensity workout, according to a press release. Then, 26 men and women with either type 2 diabetes or prediabetes did one of two workouts, either a sprint interval (SIT) or moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT).

The SIT group did between 4 and 6 intervals of 30 seconds of all-out cycling, with a 4 minute recovery. The MICT group did 40 to 60 minutes of cycling at 60 percent of their maximum effort. Each group completed 6 workouts over the course of 2 weeks.

Although both of the diabetic groups experienced improved glucose metabolism, those who did HIIT experienced a greater improvement within the two-week period. Therefore, both types of exercise were effective, but HIIT did the job much faster.

“Everyone can choose the type of training that suits them best,” said study author Tanja Sjöros. “In general, you can achieve the best results for your body by using both training methods.”

The HIIT group also experienced an increase in endurance, while the other group did not; however, prior research indicates endurance will also increase among the moderate-intensity group, it will just take longer than 2 weeks.

Previous scientific research has found that HIIT, as compared to continuous aerobic training, burns more calories before and after a workout, and provides more benefits for your heart, including increased flexibility of arteries and veins.

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