Interval-style training is all the rage. While high-intensity formats seem most prevalent, researchers have learned that a less strenuous version—interval walking—may benefit individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Published in Diabetologia (2014; doi: 10.1007/s00125-014-3334-5), the small study featured 32 individuals diagnosed with type 2 diabetes who were assigned to one of three groups: control, interval walking
or continuous walking. Throughout the 4-month intervention, walking groups were expected to exercise for 60 minutes five times per week. Information specific to the interval protocols or exercise intensity was not available. Insulin secretion, glucose metabolism and insulin-signaling measures were taken before and after the study.

The interval-walking group experienced significant improvements in glycemic control, insulin sensitivity and insulin signaling. Changes in the control and continuous-walking groups were insignificant.

“These results suggest that training with alternating intensity, and not just training volume and mean intensity, is a key determinant of changes in whole body glucose disposal in individuals with type 2 diabetes,” concluded the authors.

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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