Two weeks of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) reduced the glucose metabolism levels in the brains of physically inactive, insulin-resistant people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, according to researchers.

The study, led by Jarna Hannukainen and Kari Kalliokoski at the University of Turku, was published recently in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism.

“Previous studies have shown that the brain’s glucose and fatty acid uptake is increased in type 2 diabetes, and that glucose uptake decreases after weight loss. We wanted to study if a similar effect could be achieved by exercise, without a significant weight loss,” says Doctoral Candidate Sanna Honkala from Turku PET Centre, in a media release from the University of Turku.

The participants of the study were middle-aged, non-exercising men and women, who had prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. They all were randomly placed into two different exercise intensity groups: one for HIIT training, and the other for traditional, moderate intensity continuous training.

The 2-week training intervention included six instructed training sessions which were performed by using exercise bicycles. HIIT training consisted of 30-second training sessions with 4-minute recoveries in between, whereas traditional exercise consisted of uninterrupted, moderate intensity cycling, the release explains.

“Both forms of exercise improved the whole body’s insulin sensitivity equally efficiently and most likely, we would have seen a change also in the brain’s metabolism after moderate training if the exercise period would have been longer. In order to improve their insulin sensitivity, everyone can choose the form of exercise they are most comfortable with, which also motivates to exercise regularly,” Hannukainen states.

[Source(s): University of Turku, Science Daily]