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May 27, 2014 07:21 AM EDT

Just Two Minutes of Intense Exercise Twice a Week Prevents Diabetes, Study

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Engaging in two sessions of High-Intensity Training (HIT) every week helps prevent type 2 diabetes, according to an Abertay University study.

HIT not only lowers the risk of disease, but is also as effective as the exercise guidelines recommended by the UK Government. The five 30-minute-sessions of exercise every week is hardly followed by people due to lack of time (work or family commitments).

Researchers believe that HIT, which is quick and effective, is an ideal way of managing health for people with time constraints. The training is also said to be more beneficial than other forms of exercise like walking. Even if an individual walks five days a week for 30 minutes, it does not offer similar benefits as HIT.

"With this study, we investigated the benefits of high-intensity training (HIT) in a population group known to be at risk of developing diabetes: overweight, middle-aged adults. We found that not only does HIT reduce the risk of them developing the disease, but also that the regime needs to be performed only twice a week in order for them to reap the benefits," said Researcher Dr John Babraj, in a statement.

For the study, the researchers asked a group of overweight adults - who are at a heightened risk of developing diabetes - to participate in an HIT regime for eight weeks. The regime comprised of two weekly sprints on exercise bikes and each sprint lasted for about six seconds. Overall, the participants completed 10 sprints in each session that constituted just 2 minutes of exercise per week.

The researchers found that the short high intensity regime improved the cardiovascular health and insulin sensitivity.

"There is a clear relationship between the intensity of exercise and the magnitude of health improvement, so it is only through these short, high-intensity sprints that health improvements can be seen," said Babraj.

This is the first study to determine the health benefits of short bursts of intense physical exercise. Previous study by the same team showed the benefits of three HIT sessions. But, this study has surpassed the previous findings by saying that the same results can be achieved with two sessions as well.

The finding was documented in the journal Biology.

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