AIM: To evaluate whether high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with a lower time commitment can be as effective as endurance training (END) on glycaemic control, physical fitness and body composition in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 29 individuals with type 2 diabetes were allocated to control (CON; no training), END or HIIT groups. Training groups received 3 training sessions per week consisting of either 40 minutes of cycling at 50% of peak workload (END) or 10 1-minute intervals at 95% of peak workload interspersed with 1 minute of active recovery (HIIT). Glycaemic control (HbA1c, oral glucose tolerance test, 3-hour mixed meal tolerance test with double tracer technique and continuous glucose monitoring [CGM]), lipolysis, VO2 peak and body composition were evaluated before and after 11 weeks of intervention.
RESULTS: Exercise training increased VO2 peak more in the HIIT group (20% ± 20%) compared with the END group (8% ± 9%) despite lower total energy expenditure and time usage during the training sessions. HIIT decreased whole body and android fat mass compared with the CON group. In addition, visceral fat mass, HbA1c, fasting glucose, postprandial glucose, glycaemic variability and HOMA-IR decreased after HIIT. The reduced postprandial glucose in the HIIT group was driven primarily by a lower rate of exogenous glucose appearance. In the CON group, postprandial lipolysis was augmented over the 11-week control period.
CONCLUSIONS: Despite a ~45% lower training volume, HIIT resulted in similar or even better improvements in physical fitness, body composition and glycemic control compared to END. HIIT therefore appears to be an important time-efficient treatment for individuals with type 2 diabetes.