Foods that are high in fat will contribute to higher blood sugar levels, which is why individuals who are overweight or obese will often tend to develop a resistance to insulin, and are at much higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In most cases, type 2 diabetes can be reversed by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, and even when diet and exercise fail to work, weight-loss surgery can often do the trick.
While any type of physical activity is useful at helping control blood sugar, new studies are showing that the best type of exercise for controlling blood sugar is interval training. Interval training is a type of exercise in which you move around intensely in shorter spurts with frequent breaks in-between. For example, you could sprint for three minutes, rest for 30 seconds, then sprint for three more minutes, and repeat the cycle.
Richard Cotton, the National Director of Certification at the American College of Sports Medicine, says that interval training helps keep exercise interesting and fun, since long, continuous exercise is broken up into smaller spurts and more frequent rest, or recovery periods. Interval training is commonly referred to among fitness and training experts as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and Tabata, which is a type of HIIT practice based on studies conducted by a Japanese researcher named Izumi Tabata.
Martin Gibala of the department of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario has been researching interval training for a number of years, and focuses mainly on the effects of HIIT. Gibala notes that HIIT can be useful for many different people — especially those who suffer from chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Plus, interval training applies to people at all levels of fitness. For example, runners who are more conditioned can sprint at 6.5 miles per hour on the treadmill for two minutes, followed by 20 seconds of rest, whereas those who are less conditioned can jog at 4.5 miles per hour and take the same 20-second rest period. No matter what their level of fitness, all people can benefit from the increased heart rate associated with interval training.
Interval training is thought to be the most effective exercise at regulating blood sugar because it allows individuals to improve endurance and speed within just one exercise session. When you work your body as hard as you can, you can take your intensity level to a much higher level than expected, which stimulates your body in new ways and results in more effective fat-burning.
At this time, most studies conducted on interval training have only looked at the short-term efficacy of the workout style, and not the long-term efficacy. Gibala adds that individuals can no longer rely on the excuse that they lack time to exercise, especially given how interval training sessions that last between 20 and 30 minutes can largely benefit a person’s health and lifestyle.
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