HIIT helps combat high insulin resistance — a warning sign for diabetes

A new study published in Frontiers in Physiology suggests that High-Intensity Interval Training is an efficient, effective way of cutting people’s risk of developing type-2 diabetes, regardless of their levels of insulin resistance (a key warning sign for diabetes). Higher insulin resistance means the body starts failing to respond to insulin, a hormone which helps our bodies process glucose in muscles (~80%), and liver mainly: this failure causes diabetes. To stop this happening, patients with risk factors like known high insulin resistance are often asked to increase their physical activity, but exercising doesn’t work equally well for everyone.

This variability in response to exercise is well known, but has usually been investigated in people undergoing traditional endurance exercise programmes. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), a more recent alternative to these exercise programmes, is more time-efficient and has been shown to improve different health-related metrics in other cohorts.

Professor Izquierdo and his team therefore set out to see if a HIIT programme could help more people cut the levels of insulin and glucose in their blood and lower their risk of developing type-2 diabetes, regardless of their level of insulin resistance. Other measures such as weight, blood pressure and waist circumference, which are associated with other cardiometabolic diseases like high blood pressure,…