Short High Intensity Workouts Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar 8

Source: Solimena Lab and Review Suckale Solimena 2008 Frontiers in Bioscience

Short High Intensity Training Workouts (HIT) Can Help Regulate Blood Sugar


According to a recent study extremely short duration high intensity training significantly improves insulin action in young healthy males. Type 2 diabetes is a very health problem here in the United States and in developed countries- a veritable pandemic affecting millions of children and adults alike. While it has been conclusively established that the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes can be reduced by regular exercise [1]. It is also true that most people find it difficult to consistently follow a routine due to lack of time as conventional exercise guidelines call for at least an hour of aerobic type activity five times a week. The commitment required for such training protocols are beyond the means of most living within the constraints of the very hectic realities of modern life. As many experts in the field have noted, in order for an exercise protocol to as well as a health benefit for the individual, not only should the regime reliably modify key disease risk factors, it must also be plausible to implement.”[2]

Short high intensity training increases aerobic function and insulin action


Brief high intensity training workouts (HIT) have been demonstrated to produce improvements in aerobic function, but it was previously unknown whether high intensity training had the capacity to improve insulin action and hence glycemic control. The study, done published in BMC Endocrine Disorders proves that it does just that!

For the study 16 young men in their early twenties underwent a regime of 15 minute high intensity training type workouts for a period of two weeks. Aerobic performance testing as well as an oral glucose tolerance test were administered both before and after the training period. What researchers found after the two week period was that there was a significant increase in insulin action in addition to an increase in aerobic performance.

Notably the area under the plasma glucose, insulin and NEFA concentration-time curves were all reduced (12%, 37%, 26%), fasting plasma insulin and glucose concentrations were unchanged, but there was a tendency for reduced fasting plasma NEFA concentrations after training. Insulin sensitivity, as measured by the Cederholm index, was improved by an average of 23%, while aerobic cycling performance improved by 6%.

High intensity training is a realistic training paradigm to improve insulin action


The study concluded that: “the efficacy of a high intensity exercise protocol, involving only ~250 kcal of work each week, to substantially improve insulin action in young sedentary subjects is remarkable…This novel time-efficient training paradigm can be used as a strategy to reduce metabolic risk factors in young and middle aged sedentary populations who otherwise would not adhere to time consuming traditional aerobic exercise regimes.”[2]


1. Pedersen BK, Saltin B: Evidence for prescribing exercise as therapy in chronic disease. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2006

2. Extremely short duration high intensity interval training substantially improves insulin action in young healthy males- John A Babraj , Niels BJ Vollaard , Cameron Keast, Fergus M Guppy, Greg Cottrell and James A Timmons


Kevin Richardson is the creator of  Naturally Intense High Intensity Training 10 Minute Workouts™  and one of the most sought after personal trainers in New York City.

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