Research from Duke Health is shedding some light on how the intensity of exercise affects glucose tolerance, and the results interesting.
Participants in the six month long study were diagnosed with prediabetes based on elevated fasting glucose levels. They were divided into several groups to compare results of the interventions. The first group followed a lower calorie, lower fat diet and an exercise regime of moderate intensity exercise equivalent to 7.5 miles of brisk walking a week. Three other groups participated in exercise only (no special diet): equivalent of 7.5 miles brisk walking per week; 11.5 miles brisk walking per week; and 11.5 miles jogging per week.
As predicted, the diet and exercise group showed the greatest benefit with a 9% improvement in glucose tolerance. But, within the exercise only group the results were surprising. You might assume that the 11.5 mile a week jogging group would have results that came the closest to the diet and exercise group, but they didn’t. In fact, the jogging group had the worst results with only a 2% improvement in glucose tolerance. Actually, the brisk walking groups (considered moderate intensity) showed better results. In order of improvement, the diet and exercise group came in first with 9% improvement, followed by the 11.5 mile per week brisk walking group at 7%, then the 7.5 mile brisk walking group at 5%, with the 11.5 mile jogging group coming in last with 2% improvement.
The researchers were impressed with the small percentage of difference between the diet and exercise group and the 11.5 mile brisk walking group. They stressed that the take home message was that if patients are only willing to make one change, they felt heartened to know that patients can achieve nearly 80% of the benefit of the diet and exercise group results just by adding in moderate intensity exercise equivalent to 11.5 miles of brisk walking per week.
While this study focused on only improvements in glucose tolerance and not in weight loss, gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and adjustable lap band patients can look at these results and feel confident that their exercise does not have to be high intensity to benefit their health. Brisk walking may even be better for them than jogging.
The above is offered by Dr. Kahlil Shillingford, M.D., P.A., a board certified surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic surgery, including gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and adjustable lap band surgeries. Dr. Shillingford’s bariatric surgery patients often ask about incorporating exercise into their post bariatric surgery lifestyle, which Dr. Shillingford encourages. Many of his gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, and gastric band patients come from all over Florida, including Boca Raton, Miami, Wellington, Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville for his expertise in low cost bariatric surgery.