Diabetic patients can improve the function of their blood vessels by doing resistance-based interval exercise
06/08/2018 // RJ Jhonson // Views

The importance of exercise to long-term health management is widely known, but a study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology further emphasized the fact. The research revealed that resistance-based interval exercises can improve endothelial function and blood flow in sufferers of Type 2 diabetes.

The study compared the effects of cardiovascular (stationary bike) and resistance (weighted leg resistance exercises) interval exercises on endothelial function. A total of 35 individuals, with 56 as their average age, participated in the research. The subjects belonged to three groups. One group, classified as T2D, had Type 2 diabetes. The rest of the subjects did not have diabetes and were divided between non-exercisers and regular exercisers, classified as UN-NG and TR-NG respectively.

All subjects engaged in a 20-minute exercise regimen consisting of a three-minute warm-up, seven one-minute cardio or resistance interval workouts, one-minute rest period between every interval, and a three-minute cooldown. The researchers then measured the blood flow in the subjects' brachial artery located in the upper arm. Data were collected before and immediately after exercise, and one and two hours after the workout.

The researchers gauged endothelial function by looking at the participants' flow-mediated dilation (FMD%). They noted that resistance training caused improvements in the FMD% of both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects. The shifts were especially evident in the T2D group which showed improved endothelial function at every measurement period. (Related: Exercise found to treat chronic disease conditions better than drugs, with no toxicity.)


Cardiovascular interval exercises showed almost similar, but less stellar results. FMD% improvements were noted after one hour for the T2D group, while the TR-NG group experienced the boost after two hours. The UN-NG group did not experience any improvement.

More than cementing the benefits of exercise to sufferers of chronic diseases, the study underscored resistance interval workouts as a time-efficient health booster for both diabetics and non-diabetics.

The researchers believe that their findings warrant an investigation of the long-term effects of resistance interval exercises to vascular health.

Diabetes and the endothelium

Diabetes is a precursor of many health conditions, with known complications including organ and nerve damage and cardiovascular disease, among others. An optimal endothelial function is crucial to lowering the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases among Type 2 diabetics.

The endothelium is the layer of cells lining the inside of lymph and blood (arteries, veins, and capillaries) vessels. It controls vascular tone or how much your blood vessels can tighten or constrict when needed. For this reason, the endothelium has a direct impact on both blood flow and blood pressure.

Endothelial dysfunction is one of the effects of diabetes. It is linked to the onset and the perpetuation of various blood vessel-related conditions, such as hypertension, as well as nerve damage and other complications of diabetes.

In 2015, the American Diabetes Association listed diabetes as the seventh leading cause of death among Americans. It estimated diabetes sufferers in the U.S. alone to be at 30.3 million, with 1.5 million new cases every year, and prediabetics 18 years old and older at 84.1 million.

On interval workouts

Anyone looking to get started on interval workout won't find themselves alone or with a lack of options. Time-efficient and touted to have many health benefits, interval exercises are among the most popular today.

Interval workouts are exercises that are performed in short bursts, with periods of rest or relief interspersed between intervals. The intensity of the workout can range from high to low and may last anywhere from one to several minutes.

Their popularity stems from their many touted benefits, improved body function included, despite the workouts' brevity. High-intensity interval training (HIIT), a form of interval exercise, was listed by the American College of Sports Medicine as the most popular workout for 2018.

Get more of today's most important stories on diabetes at DiabetesScienceNews.com.

Sources include:




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