Interval training and type 2 diabetes treatment

Neolife medical management

Hundreds of studies have confirmed that people in good physical shape live longer and better.

Physical activity and exercise are the key pillars of a good Proactive Preventive Medicine program. Hundreds of studies have confirmed that people in good physical shape live longer and better. At Neolife we promote the frequent training of our basic physical qualities, such as our cardiorespiratory capacity, strength and flexibility.

Exercise (4)

Physicians’ recommendations with regard to exercise usually lean towards cardio such as walking, cycling or swimming at a continuous, moderate or low intensity. However, the latest trends when it comes to prescribing exercise for health benefits are increasingly leaning towards placing greater importance on strength training (doing weights) and HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training.

A recent study conducted in Denmark (1) and published online (August 2014) in the Journal of Diabetología confirms the effects of walking at different paces on type 2 diabetes. The study found that the effects were greater when walking and changing one’s pace compared to walking at a fixed intensity, even when both types of exercise produce the same caloric expenditure.

The study involved 3 groups of participants with type 2 diabetes (non-insulin-dependent); the first group had to walk at 55% maximum intensity (without running) for one hour a day, 5 days a week, for 4 months; the second group had to alternate during that hour, 3 minutes walking at more than 70% maximum intensity followed by 3 minutes at 40%; and the third group simply continued with their usual lifestyle. All three groups had to give up any medication they were taking as treatment in order to avoid interference on the effects of the exercise.

A significant decrease in mean blood glucose and body weight levels was only observed in the group that had carried out interval training. The authors therefore encourage the healthcare profession and diabetic patients to adopt this type of interval training rather than carrying out continuous activities at a low level of effort.


(1) Karstof, K, Winding, K, Knudsen, S, el al Mechaninsms behind the superior effects of interval vs continuous training on glycaemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes: a randomized trial. Diabetologia, DOI 10.1007/s00125-014-3334-5