Insulin Resistance Improved with Exercise
A new study shows that moderate exercise alone, without weight loss, will improve insulin resistance in both lean and obese adolescents. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that permits glucose to enter cells to be used for energy or stored for future use by the body.
Because obese adolescents are resistant to insulin, in order to maintain normal blood sugar levels, they have to increase their production of insulin. Increased insulin production however, places higher demands on the pancreas. These higher demands can exhaust pancreatic beta cells to the point that they no longer produce sufficient amounts of insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal, which might subsequently lead to type 2 diabetes.
Because weight loss can be difficult to achieve and maintain in obese sedentary children, the purpose of this study was to determine whether a controlled exercise program, without any diet intervention and with no intention of weight loss, would improve fat distribution and sensitivity to insulin,” said Agneta Sunehag, MD, PhD, of Baylor College of Medicine and senior author of the study. “We found that a 12-week moderate aerobic exercise program consisting of four 30-minute workouts a week increased fitness and improved insulin sensitivity in both lean and obese adolescents.” (more – link)
This study is significant because there are many studies that include both diet and exercise together, therefore making it difficult to determine which of the two is most effective. One researcher said, “Our findings show that exercise alone can increase fitness and improve insulin sensitivity, making an aerobic program like the one used in this study a potential useful tool in preventing obesity-related illnesses.”
Any new tools in the obesity-fighting toolbox are welcomed ones.
Thanks for reading,
Andre Berger, M.D.