Short, High-Intensity Exercise Improves Insulin Production In People With Type 2 Diabetes

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

pancreas insulin production

In previous studies, aerobic exercise is shown to improve beta-cell function and insulin production in diabetics. However, many Type 2 diabetics  find it hard to exercise regularly, with the main reason being time constraints.

Unlike aerobic exercise, which can last 45 minutes to an hour (or more), most high-intensity anaerobic exercise routines are 20 minutes or less. High-intensity exercise is well-proven to improve body composition and overall fitness levels better and faster than low-intensity aerobic exercise. So, researchers decided to see if the same would hold true for beta-cells and insulin production.

The study, published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism, followed 12 subjects with Type 2 diabetes over the course of a six-week training program. Participants attended three CrossFit sessions per week with a certified CrossFit trainer. 


CrossFit is an exercise program that focuses on functional high-intensity training (F-HIT). At least one session every week involved getting participants heart rates higher than 85% of their maximum targeted heart rates. 

At the start and end of the study, participants were given an oral glucose tolerance test, body fat and lean mass measurements, as well as measures of physical fitness to examine fitness levels.

The results were extremely promising: beta-cell function (and insulin production), liver function, and exercise capacity/fitness levels were all significantly improved.

According to the study: “Here we show that exercise at high-intensity for as little as 10 to 20 minute per day, three days a week for six weeks improves beta-cell function in adults with [type 2 diabetes]”.

See also: Reversing diabetes Type-2

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