Research linking the positive influence of exercise to improving metabolic issues has largely utilised endurance training as a means of exercise intervention, typically in the format of low intensity, steady state (LISS). However with the popularity of HIIT growing exponentially in recent years, academics across various field are now starting to preference this exercise format in establishing the influence of exercise for differing health issues. And rightly so: this form of exercise has scientifically demonstrated itself to be an effective remedy for weight loss and making cosmetic gains.
Research such as Boutcher ‘s 2011 study into HIIT and fat loss was one of these studies within the literature surrounding this topic. This study also began to elude to some of the metabolic benefits of HIIT forming the catalyst for follow-up, similar research, acting as a sound foundation to build upon. Consequently more granular health benefits are assumed however a recent study now confirms one such benefits, namely the effects of HIIT on insulin sensitivity.
The study in question – led by Professor Izquierdo and his supporting research team – set out to see if HIIT could reduce the reliance of elevated levels insulin secretion, a pre-cursor to type-2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Insulin and glucose levels were monitored within the study, along with bloody pressure, body weight and waist circumference.
The study sample consisted of 40 sedentary women, each at risk of developing type-2 diabetes. This group was then sub-divided into two smaller groups based on their existing health risks: a group that was evidently more susceptible to developing diabetes than the other. Each participants then underwent a 10 week HIIT intervention, with regular health assessments along the way to closely monitor any physiological responses.
The study found that the intervention had positive effects for both the study groups, however those deemed to be in worse health with regards to developing diabetes and metabolic syndrome saw even better results than, essentially the control group. Evidence of the success of the study was most profound when analyzing the impact on blood pressure, glucose and insulin levels.
Stephen H. Boutcher. High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss. Journal of Obesity. 2010.