Diabetes Patients Benefit From Exercise in Thin Air
Patients with type 2 diabetes can improve their glycemic control by engaging in physical activity in a thin-air environment, a new study suggests.
According to a review by MedPage Today, researchers led by Richard Mackenzie, PhD, of University of Westminster in London found that an hour of continuous exercise in hypoxic—meaning low-oxygen—conditions markedly improved diabetics’ glucose regulation and insulin sensitivity.
The small study focused on eight male subjects with type 2 diabetes. They were asked to perform a 60-minute exercise regimen in hypoxia, intermittent exercise in hypoxia and intermittent exercise in a normal oxygen environment.
The researchers then reviewed the patients’ blood glucose and insulin levels. They found that both the continuous and intermittent workouts with or without hypoxia helped insulin levels, and the hour of continuous hypoxic exercise offered the most significant improvement.
"A combination of moderately reduced oxygen levels with exercise can significantly improve the body's ability to respond to insulin in type 2 diabetic patients over exercise alone," Mackenzie said in a statement, as quoted by MedPage Today. "Our findings suggest the possible use of exercise with mild hypoxia for the treatment of type 2 diabetes."
The findings were published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.