Exercise Reverses Insulin Resistance

Changes in insulin sensitivity in response to different modalities of exercise: a review of the evidence

OCT 15, 2013

Written by S. Mann, C. Beedie, S. Balducci, S. Zanuso, J. Allgrove, F. Bertiato, A. Jimenez

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This review supports the proposal that PA is beneficial in improving metabolic control in general and in improving insulin sensitivity specifically.Regular leisure time PA can maintain insulin sensitivity and improve glycaemic control in those with T2D. There may be a dose–response relationship between the intensity and duration of PA and improvements in insulin sensitivity, in which case the progression to higher levels of systematic PA (i.e. exercise) may elicit greater benefits.Aerobic exercise appears effective in improving insulin sensitivity even though there is no present evidence to suggest that those benefits transcend those of lifestyle PA unless high intensities are implemented. Interval training has been shown to be particularly effective at both moderate and high intensities, prescribed according to the participant’s ability to meet demands of the exercise.Evidence suggests that RT is effective, most likely because of an increase in muscle GLUT4 and in various insulin signalling protein activity levels in the trained muscles. RT seems to be effective at intensities above 50% of 1RM, a fact that is reflected in the recommendations for exercise training in subjects with T2D presented in this review.It appears that combining AE and RT is the most efficient training strategy in improving insulin sensitivity, although further research controlling the volume of training is warranted.This review confirms the effect of different modalities of exercise in improving insulin sensitivity. Having clearly considered the baseline condition of their patients, clinicians should consider the possibility of prescribing COM training to obtain the optimal benefits in their patients.