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Health benefits start with just a minute of exercise

Dec 14

"Performing short cycle sprints three times a week could be enough to prevent and possibly treat Type 2 diabetes University of Bath researchers have discovered.

Volunteers were asked to perform two 20-second cycle sprints, three times per week for researchers in the University’s Department for Health.

After six weeks the University team saw a 28 per cent improvement in their insulin function. Type 2 diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels build up to dangerously high levels due to reduced insulin function, often caused by a sedentary lifestyle. The condition can cause life-threatening complications to the heart, kidneys, eyes and limbs, and costs the NHS £1 million an hour in treatments and care.

Regular exercise can help keep blood sugar levels low but busy lifestyles and lack of motivation mean 66 per cent of the population is not getting the recommended five 30-minute sessions of moderate exercise a week.

This short burst type of exercise is not suitable for weight loss as the sprints are too short to burn many calories, but it was shown to improve general fitness."

It is not just intense exercise that can help. Regular physical activity such as walking can also prevent us developing type 2 diabetes, lowering the risk by 26-60%. (The Textbook of Diabetes, Holt I G et al, 2010).

The Chief Medical Officer recommends that we take 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day, and brisk walking is an ideal way to do this. And if you're just getting started, start with short moderate exercise sessions and build up to the recommended amount.

Photo of walker from promotingactivity.com