High Intensity Exercise Could Restore Heart Function for People With Diabetes 2

Researchers from the University of Otago have found out that high-intensity exercise reduces or reverses loss in heart function which diabetes type 2 causes. The research discovered that 3 months of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) improves heart function in adults with type 2 diabetes. This is without a change in diet or medication.

High Intensity Exercise

High-Intensity Exercise

Case study

Genevieve Wilson, a former Ph.D. student, carried out the research. Dr. Chris Baldi supervised the research. Gerry Wilkins was her co-adviser. The study was published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Ms. Wilson explains why the research is significant. Previous research shows that improved glycemic control and lifestyle changes improve some outcomes for people with diabetes. However, researchers are yet to realize cardiovascular disease reduction and it remains the main cause of death in these patients.

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The study has discovered that sufficiently high-intensity exercise could offer an inexpensive and practical way of reducing or reversing a loss in heart function caused by type 2 diabetes. This is according to Ms. Wilson.

High-intensity interval training involves short near maximal effort exercise intervals (>90% maximum). These include exercises like stair climbing or sprinting separated by moderate-intensity exercise intervals such as fast walking or jogging. The study’s aim was for people to spend ten minutes on very high-intensity exercise during a 25 minute exercise period.

The effects of type 2 diabetes increase continuously. The prolonged management of this disease cripples healthcare systems all over the world. Increasing aerobic capacity by exercise is the best heart disease prevention method. Exercise is crucial in diabetic treatment. However, a diabetic’s heart impaired function makes it hard for diabetic people to effectively exercise. It wasn’t known if they could train this hard. This is according to Dr. Baldi.

However, the study was able to show that the high-intensity exercise program was safe and acceptable for middle-aged adults with type 2 diabetes. The high-intensity exercise program was also well attended with an adherence rate of greater than 80% over those three months.


According to Dr. Baldi, there are 2 important clinical implications of this work.

  • The first is that those with type 2 diabetes shall stick to high-intensity interval training. They are also capable of comparable increases in left ventricular exercise response and aerobic capacity as that reported in non-diabetic adults.
  • The second clinical implication is that high-intensity exercise can reverse some heart function changes which seem to precede diabetic heart disease.

We would appreciate it if you shared your thoughts on the discussion in the comment section below.




The University of Otago. (2019, May 24). High-intensity exercise may restore heart function in people with type 2 diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 27, 2019, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190524094318.htm






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