What type of exercise training is better for improving the health of men with Type 2 Diabetes?
For his PhD thesis UCOL’s Dr Shohn Wormgoor compared the efficacy of specific exercise training regimes in men living with Type 2 Diabetes. The study was supervised by researchers from the Auckland University of Technology and Western State Colorado University.
In the study undertaken at UCOL’s former Exercise and Wellness Clinic, study participants underwent a 12-week, thrice weekly programme of resistance training and either the much talked about high-intensity interval training (HIIT), or more traditional moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT).
The middle-aged men were obese, had moderate duration Type 2 Diabetes and were taking multiple medications including oral antihyperglycaemic medication, insulin, statins and/or beta-blockers.
The HIIT group progressed to cycling 12 one-minute bouts at 95% of their estimated maximum workload, interspersed with one minute recovery periods. The MICT group progressed to cycling for 26 minutes at 55% of their estimated maximum workload. Both the HIIT and MICT groups did five resistance training exercises targeting all the major skeletal muscle groups.
The study measured and compared an array of the short-term effects of the three month exercise regimes, and included a six-month follow-up analysis to assess the durability of the benefits.
Beyond improvements in aerobic fitness and strength, participants experienced significant benefits in glycated haemoglobin (the average level of blood sugar in the previous two to three months) and other diabetic complication markers, specifically subcutaneous adiposity (fat tissue underneath the skin); and heart rate variability. In addition, during the intervention, participants in both groups experienced favorable reductions in their medication usage - with one participant in the MICT group achieving remission.
Adiposity and aerobic capacity were significantly maintained in both groups at the six-month follow-up.
Whilst successes between individuals varied and numerous exaggerated acute physiological responses were managed, incorporating either resistance training and structured MICT or HIIT as a cornerstone into the treatment plan for men with Type 2 Diabetes, reduces hyperglycaemia, and possibly prevents further deterioration of cardiometabolic risk and microvascular complications.