(HealthDay News) — New research suggests that short bouts of high-intensity exercise could help reverse some early cardiac structure and function changes in patients with type 2 diabetes. The findings were published online September 9 in Diabetologia.
Sophie Cassidy, a PhD candidate from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues included 23 type 2 diabetes patients, aged 45–71, in the study. Twelve men and women were randomly assigned to complete 12 weeks of intermittent high-intensity exercise, while 11 others continued standard treatment. The participants’ cardiac structure and function were assessed using advanced imaging technology. The volunteers also underwent glucose tolerance tests to determine how well they had their diabetes under control.
The bouts of exercise, which lasted up to 90 seconds, raised the heart rate more than longer periods of less rigorous activity. High-intensity intermittent exercise significantly improved the participants’ cardiac structure and function. These bouts of activity were particularly beneficial for the left ventricle. Meanwhile, the exercise resulted in a small improvement in diabetes control, the study authors said in a university news release.
“Our findings also suggest that exercise does not have to be 30 minutes of continuous exercise – repeated short bouts of higher intensity exercise give strong benefits to the heart,” the authors said. “Getting more physically active is, quite literally, at the heart of good diabetes control.”