Regular brisk walking may be more effective than vigorous jogging for improving glucose control in individuals with pre-diabetes, a study says.
“When faced with the decision of trying to lose weight, diet, and exercise versus exercise alone, the study indicates you can achieve nearly 80 per cent of the effect of doing all three with just a high amount of moderate-intensity exercise,” said lead author William Kraus, Professor at Duke University School of Medicine in the US.
“We believe that one benefit of moderate-intensity exercise is that it burns off fat in the muscles, which relieves the block of glucose uptake by the muscles. That’s important because muscle is the major place to store glucose after a meal,” Kraus explained.
The study appeared online in the journal Diabetologia. The findings are based on a randomised, six-month study of 150 participants, each of whom was designated as having pre-diabetes based on elevated fasting glucose levels.
The first group followed an intervention modeled after the Diabetes Prevention Programme (DPP), considered a gold standard, that aims to achieve a seven per cent body weight reduction over six months. The programme requires cutting calories, eating a low-fat diet, and exercising. Study participants in this group adopted the diet changes, and performed moderate-intensity exercise equivalent to 7.5 miles of brisk walking in a week.
Other study participants were randomly assigned to receive exercise only, using different amounts and intensities: low-amount at moderate intensity (equivalent to walking briskly for 7.5 miles per week); high-amount at moderate intensity (equivalent to walking briskly for 11.5 miles per week); and high-amount at vigorous intensity (equivalent to jogging for 11.5 miles per week). “We wanted to know how much of the effect of the DPP (Diabetes Prevention Programme) could be accomplished with exercise alone,” Kraus said.