Exercise (movement) and diet (food) are two sides of the same metabolic coin. The way you move and the food you eat influence your metabolism for better – or for worse – pick those foods and movements that benefit your metabolism and you will stop, and reverse prediabetes.
One area of study in exercise literature is between the benefits of low-intensity, long duration, endurance type exercise versus the high-intensity, low-duration, sprint type of exercise activity. Each of these approaches has a different effect on your metabolism and cardiovascular health.
Both approaches can make a contribution to your health, but as far as the amount of benefit from the time spent, I believe the high intensity exercise is better – if you are medically capable. Do not attempt this unless cleared by your doctor to do so.
Short bursts of high intensity exercise produce fitness, strength and overall metabolic conditioning. In some exercise circles this high-intensity resistance circuit training approach to exercise is referred to as a “met con.”
This approach to exercise-movement can produce some profound effects on your metabolism, especially when you consider the relatively short amount of time that you perform this type of physical activity.
I have previously posted about the benefits of high intensity interval exercise for those with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes metabolic syndrome.
Relatively short bursts of high intensity movements can be especially helpful for people with type 2 diabetes and for stopping prediabetes as it has been shown to lower insulin resistance, improve glucose tolerance, and stimulate the fat burning capacity of muscle.
High-intensity interval exercise also appears to be more effective at reducing subcutaneous and abdominal body fat than other types of exercise.
A New High Intensity Interval Exercise Study
A recent study supports high intensity sprinting over jogging by showing that men who did 20 minute bike sprints lost abdominal fat faster than men that jogged.
Just three 20-minute sprints a week on an exercise bike helped the men reduce abdominal fat better than jogging.
After the 12-week exercise program, the sprinters lost about 5 lbs of body fat, 17 % of abdominal “visceral” fat, and gained a little more than 2 ½ lbs. of muscle in their legs and trunk. Sprinting on a bike – as opposed to running – also spares the foot, ankle and knee joints.
Regular Nutrientology readers know that visceral fat is the fat that is present in front of your abdomen and accumulates around the internal organs. It is more strongly associated with heart problems, diabetes, and inflammatory conditions than subcutaneous fat, which is present just below the skin.
Low intensity endurance exercise does not cause the development of muscle. The addition of muscle, and the improvements in muscle quality gained with this form of higher intensity exercise is an important part of its benefits on metabolism.
That being said, long duration endurance exercise also has a place. Some movement is better than no movement. If you are just starting to incorporate some movement-exercise into your lifestyle, walking is an excellent way to start.
You can gradually increase the pace of your walking as you feel capable. When you are in better physical condition, you can add some casual resistance exercise, and gradually increase the intensity of both activities. As your fitness improves, and your doctor gives you the go-ahead, start to increase the intensity of both activities.
Slower, less intense walking can also be a good way to recover from a high intensity exercise day. It’s better to recover from strenuous exercise while moving some as opposed to doing nothing.
Do you have 20 minutes three times per week for better health? Leave a comment, and let our readers know what you have done to add some intermittent intensity to your exercise-movement activities.