(NaturalNews) Less than 10 minutes of intense exercise per week can be more effective at reducing diabetes risk than current recommendations of 30 minutes per day, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, and published in the journal BMC Endocrine Disorders.
"It is possible to gain significant health benefits from only 7.5 minutes of exercise each week -- if that is all that you find the time to do," researcher James A. Timmons said. "This is a dramatically different view from current thinking."
Health professionals currently recommend that adults spend at least 30 minutes per day engaging in moderate exercise, five days per week. This has been shown not only to improve general health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, but also to increase the body's sensitivity to insulin, thus lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
However, "the general population fails to follow such regimes due to lack of time, motivation and adherence," the researchers noted. Therefore, they hoped to discover if shorter bouts of more intense exercise could provide a similar benefit.
The researchers assigned 16 men in their early 20s to take part in six short exercise sessions, each one consisting of between four and six 30-second sprints. They also had the men drink a solution with 75 grams of glucose, then measured how long their blood sugar and insulin levels remained elevated afterward. The researchers found that after only two weeks, the duration of blood sugar elevation was decreased by 12 percent and the duration of insulin elevation decreased by 37 percent.
Moderate exercise has never been shown to reduce blood sugar levels directly, as the intense exercise in the current study did.
The researchers recommended that all healthy people between the ages of 20 and 40 aim for four to six 30-second intense exercise bouts two times per week. A sprint outdoors or on a bicycle or simply running up a flight of stairs would suffice.