A study published recently in American Journal of Physiology — Heart and Circulatory Physiology notes that resistance-based interval exercise may help improve endothelial function, including blood flow and blood vessel dilation.

This could be true for older adults with type 2 diabetes as well as age-matched non-exercisers and regular exercisers, according to the researchers.

In their study, the research team compared resistance training (using weighted leg resistance exercises) and cardiovascular training (using a stationary bicycle) to see how each regimen affected the endothelial function among the participants.

The 35 participants (average age: 56) were assigned to three groups: people with type 2 diabetes (T2D), non-exercisers without diabetes (UN-NG) and regular exercisers without diabetes (TR-NG). Each group performed the same 20-minute exercise regimen: three-minute warm up; seven one-minute (resistance or cardio) interval workout with a one-minute rest between each interval; three-minute cool down. The researchers measured blood flow in the brachial artery in the upper arm before and immediately following interval training and at one and two hours post-exercise, explains a media release from the American Physiological Society.

The researchers found that all of the exercisers—with or without diabetes, trained or untrained—saw an improvement of flow-mediated dilation (FMD%, a measure of endothelial function) after resistance-based interval training. This was especially true in the T2D group, which experienced FMD% improvement at each measurement period. Cardiovascular interval training led to FMD% changes after 1 hour in the T2D group and after 2 hours in the regular exercise group but did not cause any improvement in the non-exercising group.

“This study shows that resistance-based interval exercise is a time-efficient and effective exercise method to acutely improve endothelial function in T2D, age-matched UN-NG and TR-NG participants,” the researchers write, per the release. “These findings warrant the examination of the long-term impact of [resistance-based interval exercise] on vascular function.”

[Source(s): American Physiological Society, Science Daily]