It was said that "if motion could be packaged in a pill, it would be the only prescription and useful medicine in the nation." Now, new research, published in Experimental Physiology by researchers from the University of Glasgow, has highlighted some of the positive health effects of a short-lasting, high-intensity weight training program in overweight men. The results of this study suggest that a six-week program, consisting of three 1
The authors hope that further work will demonstrate that these findings apply to people with type II diabetes, 90% of whom are overweight or obese. Their results show that short-term exhaustion improves insulin sensitivity (how sensitive the body is to the effects of the hormone and insulin), as well as prolonged (45 minutes) resistance exercises. Such short sessions could be more appealing and achievable in a world where time is a common hindrance to physical activity.
Insulin sensitivity describes how sensitive the body is to the effects of the hormone insulin. This hormone is responsible for ingesting sugars from our blood into our tissues to store it or use it as an energy source. When insulin sensitivity decreases (as in type II diabetes), blood glucose levels rise, which can lead to fatigue in the short term, but over time is associated with complications such as heart disease and stroke. Previous research had suggested that 45-minute resistance training with multiple sets of each exercise could increase insulin sensitivity, muscle size, and muscle strength, but none of the studies examined the effectiveness of shorter resistance training programs. The team recruited ten obese men (who worked their way through) a body mass index of 25 to 30), who trained six times a week for six weeks. Each training session consisted of a single set of nine standard resistance exercises, such as leg presses and bicep curls, performed at 80% of their maximum single-repeat buoyancy until the intended failure (ie, if another repetition could not be completed). Muscle size, muscle strength and insulin sensitivity were measured before and after the training period. Comparisons of these measurements showed that insulin sensitivity increased by 16% after the exercise program. Muscle mass and strength were measurably increased after only two weeks, with these variables progressively increasing over the remainder of the study.
These results are exciting and increase the notion that muscle strengthening activities are significant on a regular basis. They also validate the protocol used in this study as a time efficient method of doing so. It should be noted, however, that all participants were men and despite being overweight were relatively healthy and the study had no control arm. Therefore, other populations need to be studied in a large randomized controlled trial to confirm the observed effects of this study. It would undoubtedly be encouraging to see similar results in diabetics, as the total cost of the disease in the UK is expected to reach £ 40 billion a year by 2035-36.
Stuart Gray, who led the research group, is already thinking of other ways to build on his team's work: "In addition to these results, we know that the gym is not for everyone, so we also need to consider whether we humans without gym equipment can do similar exercises at home to achieve similar beneficial effects. "
Resistance exercises improve insulin resistance and blood sugar levels
The Effect of Short-Term Resistance Training on Insulin Sensitivity and Muscle Adjustments in Overweight Men, Experimental Physiology DOI: 10.1113 / EP087435
The physiological society
Train harder and shorter: The resistance program builds muscle and reduces the risk of diabetes (2019, January 29)
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