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Short bursts of physical activity 'cut diabetes risk'

A study has been published this week on the effects of quick exercise.

The study was carried out by James Timmons, Professor of Exercise Biology at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

He said people could reduce their risk of diabetes and heart disease substantially with short, intense workouts.

Insulin function improvement

In his study 16 men exercised for three sessions a week for two weeks. Each session was made up of four 30-second sprints on an exercise bike.

This involved the men going as fast as they could for 30 seconds and then taking a few minutes of complete rest between each sprint.

After two weeks, Prof Timmons said the results were "substantial", with a 23 per cent improvement in insulin function.

While his research focused on young men, Prof Timmons said it would work for people of all ages and for both men and women.

Further research needed

However, Victoria King, Diabetes UK Research Manager stressed that more studies were needed: "This research has only been undertaken in a small group of people without diabetes and who have been engaged in either a high-intensity exercise programme or not.

"While the improvement in the control of insulin action in those who undertook the training is interesting, it's limited at this stage as to what we can learn.

"This study really just adds to what we know about the importance of lifestyle interventions in preventing Type 2 diabetes."

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