Interval training can improve blood vessel function in people with diabetes

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interval training

In a recent study, researchers found that interval training – workouts in which you alternate periods of high-intensity exercise with low-intensity recovery periods—can improve blood vessel function.

The finding is published in American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology. Scientists from University of British Columbia Okanagan and Kelowna General Hospital conducted the study.

Researchers examined the effect of a single session of resistance- and cardio-based interval training on endothelial function in people with type 2 diabetes and healthy non-exercisers or regular exercisers.

Endothelial function includes blood flow and blood vessel dilation. The dysfunction can cause many chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and septic shock.

In the study, researchers tested the effects of two modes of interval training on endothelial function. One mode focused on resistance, such as weighted leg resistance exercises; and the other mode focused on cardiovascular function, such as bicycling.

All participants performed the same 20-minute exercise, including a 3-minute warm up, 7 one-minute (resistance or cardio) interval workout with a 1-minute rest between each interval, and 3-minute cool down.

Before and after the interval training, researchers measured blood flow in the brachial artery in participants’ upper arms.

The result showed that all the participants showed an improved blood flow-mediated dilation (an index of endothelial function) after resistance-based interval training, regardless their daily exercise experience and diabetes conditions.

In addition, cardio interval training led to improved flow-mediated dilation after 1 hour in the diabetes group and after 2 hours in the regular exercise group.

Researchers suggest that resistance-based interval training can help improve blood vessel functions in older people; especially people with type 2 diabetes.

Interval training is appealing to many people, because it requires short time and the rest periods are built into the exercise time. By doing interval training, people can burn lots of calories, strengthen the cardiovascular system, and build strong muscles.

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Citation: Francois ME, et al. (2016). Resistance-Based Interval Exercise Acutely Improves Endothelial Function In Type 2 Diabetes. American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology, published online, DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00398.2016.
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