There is a lot of focus these days on high-intensity workout models that might appear extreme to nonexercisers. However, overweight and obese individuals with type 2 diabetes don’t need to go to extremes to see health improvements.

A study published in PLOS ONE (2015; doi: 10.1371/ journal.pone.0119140) aimed to understand how different levels and durations of activity would affect biomarkers in overweight and obese subjects with type 2 diabetes. To assess activity levels, researchers fitted 279 Australian men and women with Actigraph accelerometers. Waist circumference, body mass index, blood pressure and fasting blood measurements were also taken.

Here is some of what the scientists learned:
The subjects spent an average of 63% of their waking time inactive. Two percent of that time involved moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA). Not surprisingly, higher waist circumference and BMI were linked with the most sedentary subjects. On the upside, the authors stated, “Statistically significant associations of light-intensity activity were observed with lower waist circumference, BMI, and fasting plasma glucose.”

Combining light-intensity activity with fewer bouts of sedentary behavior lasting more than 30 minutes at a time proved beneficial to participants.

“Significantly improved mean levels of waist circumference and BMI were observed when shifting time from prolonged sedentary to non-prolonged sedentary or light-intensity activity (cross-sectionally),” added the authors. “Lifestyle interventions in overweight/obese adults with type 2 diabetes might consider targeting shifts in these non-MVPA activities to more rigorously evaluate their potential cardiometabolic benefit in this population.”

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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