The notion that workouts should be at least 15 minutes or longer may not hold true for diabetic patients, as a new study found that frequent, short exercises are better for the hearts of those suffering from the illness.

A study titled, "Acute Effects of Interrupting Prolonged Sitting on Vascular Function in Type 2 Diabetes" found that working out with frequent or short exercise sessions may be better for the heart of a diabetic patient as compared to longer and fewer workouts. The quick bursts of exercises may help in reducing the risk of heart disease.

The randomised crossover trial looked at 24 adults who have type 2 diabetes and they were tasked to complete simple resistance activities at different intervals. They found that in over seven hours, the ability to interrupt a sitting activity with short breaks every 30 minutes resulted in an increase in the mean femoral artery flow mediation dilation (FMD).

This indicated that the blood vessel dilation in high-BMI adults who have type 2 diabetes improved and responded well to shorter and frequent exercise sessions. When the participants had breaks, their blood vessels functioned better compared to when sitting for longer hours.

The participants underwent several tests. In the first, they sat for seven hours without any exercise breaks. In the second test, they had breaks from sitting where they would do three-minute exercises, which include leg lifts, squats and calf raises every 30 minutes. In the last test, they had six-minute breaks every hour.

Based on the findings, the researchers stated that shorter but frequent breaks could be more important than engaging in prolonged activities. Frances Taylor, lead author and a doctoral candidate in exercise and sports science at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, noted that as type 2 diabetes progresses, the blood vessel functions would also deteriorate. Prolonged sitting would mean getting lesser blood into the lower extremities, which is why breaking it through frequent interruptions will be more beneficial.

The World Health Organization noted that a healthy diet, maintaining normal body weight and regular physical activity, including avoiding tobacco use can help in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. The health body also recommends regular screening and treatment of complications.

Short Burst Exercises
Frequent, short burst exercises good for type 2 diabetic patients. Photo: Pixabay