Low-volume high-intensity interval training reduces hyperglycemia in Type 2 Diabetes

(My Notes:  This is admittedly a very small study but it shows the promise of HIGH INTENSITY – SHORT REST (aka HIIT) exercise in diabetes.  FYI, HIIT is exercising (sprinting, cycling) at maximum effort for 20-60 seconds, then stopping, resting for 2-3 minutes and repeating several times.  In evolutionary context this would like sudden burst needed to run from a saber tooth tiger or to catch wild prey.  I will post more on this topic in the future as it relates to general health as well as metabolic disorders.)

Little JPGillen JBPercival MESafdar ATarnopolsky MAPunthakee ZJung MEGibala MJ.


Dept. of Kinesiology, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.


Low-volume high-intensity interval training (HIT) is emerging as a time-efficient exercise strategy for improving health and fitness. This form of exercise has not been tested in type 2 diabetes and thus we examined the effects of low-volume HIT on glucose regulation and skeletal muscle metabolic capacity in patients with type 2 diabetes. Eight patients with type 2 diabetes (63 ± 8 yr, body mass index 32 ± 6 kg/m(2), Hb(A1C) 6.9 ± 0.7%) volunteered to participate in this study. Participants performed six sessions of HIT (10 × 60-s cycling bouts eliciting ∼90% maximal heart rate, interspersed with 60 s rest) over 2 wk. Before training and from ∼48 to 72 h after the last training bout, glucose regulation was assessed using 24-h continuous glucose monitoring under standardized dietary conditions. Markers of skeletal muscle metabolic capacity were measured in biopsy samples (vastus lateralis) before and after (72 h) training. Average 24-h blood glucose concentration was reduced after training (7.6 ± 1.0 vs. 6.6 ± 0.7 mmol/l) as was the sum of the 3-h postprandial areas under the glucose curve for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (both P < 0.05). Training increased muscle mitochondrial capacity as evidenced by higher citrate synthase maximal activity (∼20%) and protein content of Complex II 70 kDa subunit (∼37%), Complex III Core 2 protein (∼51%), and Complex IV subunit IV (∼68%, all P < 0.05). Mitofusin 2 (∼71%) and GLUT4 (∼369%) protein content were also higher after training (both P < 0.05). Our findings indicate that low-volume HIT can rapidly improve glucose control and induce adaptations in skeletal muscle that are linked to improved metabolic health in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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