Given how common prediabetes and diabetes are in society today, many people are looking for strategies to help prevent and/or manage this condition. People with type 2 diabetes are not able to adequately regulate blood sugar levels. Exercise has been identified as a beneficial strategy to improve blood sugar regulation and researchers are exploring the optimum type of exercise for health benefits among people with type 2 diabetes. A recent study looked at the effects of interval walking compared to continuous walking on blood sugar regulation in people with type 2 diabetes. Participants were asked to engage in 60 minutes of either (a) interval walking (i.e., alternating 3-minute intervals of fast and slow walking) or (b) continuous moderate intensity walking, 5 times per week for 4 months. After the 4-month training program, participants in the interval walking condition had significantly better blood sugar regulation whereas participants in the continuous walking and no exercise control condition did not have any changes in blood sugar regulation. Interestingly, compared to continuous walking, interval walking also led to significantly greater improvements in body composition (body fat) and aerobic fitness (VO2 max).
The findings from this study suggest that engaging in interval walking is a wise step in the prevention and/or management of type 2 diabetes. Another advantage of interval training is that it requires less time to acquire health benefits. Preliminary findings from research conducted at The University of British Columbia at Okanagan suggest that as little as 20 minutes of interval training (1 minute fast walking followed by 1 minute slow walking, repeated 10 times) leads to improved blood sugar regulation among people with pre-diabetes.
Interested in trying interval training? Start by talking to your doctor to make sure that this type of exercise is appropriate for you. Once you have doctor’s approval, start walking! Start with 3 minutes of walking to warm-up, then alternate fast walking for 60 seconds with 60 seconds slow walking (start with 8 minutes of total exercise), and finish with 3 minutes cool down. Every week add a couple more minutes of fast/slow walking. Have fun!
Original research article can be found at Springer Link.
Want to participate in an interval training research study?
If you live in the Kelowna area and are interested in participating in a study being conducted at The University of British Columbia at Okanagan involving interval training, please call 250-807-8419 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information click here.