Even a Little Exercise Can Help Prevent Diabetes


A year ago I wrote a blog about the benefits of exercise in helping to control diabetes. Another study done late last year and published in Experimental Physiology, has confirmed that finding. But interestingly enough, this study on mice found that even a little exercise can prevent or possibly reverse Type 2 diabetes. The recommendation of getting in at least 30 minutes of modest activity five days a week to reduce your risk of developing diabetes now has more force behind it with this latest study.

Researchers at the Integrative Muscle Metabolism Laboratory studied the effects of exercise on two groups of mice that were fed a diet mirroring the typical American high-fat diet. The first group of mice in the study was genetically engineered to have more mitochondria (these are the tiny structures inside our cells that convert glucose and fats into energy). Previous research had suggested that increased mitochondria could help fix symptoms of a high-fate diet.

The second group was not genetically modified in any way. The mice were divided into groups, one of which was allowed to exercise while the other group remained sedentary. In both the genetically engineered and the normal mice, physical activity–regardless of the amount of mitochondria–offered similar protection against insulin resistance.

The researchers concluded that exercise alone appears to remove damaged cellular material and enhance the quality of mitochondria. The takeaway message to all of us is that even a small amount of regular exercise or mild exercise on a regular basis can be tremendously beneficial in preventing or modulating Type 2 diabetes, not to mention its many other benefits!

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