Exercising for an hour every 2 days lowered blood sugar as much as daily 30-minute workouts in a group of 30 men with type 2 diabetes, says a Reuters Health article based on a Dutch study published in Diabetes Care.
The men in the new study were 60 years old on average. About half of them required insulin injections to control their blood sugar. The rest managed their condition with diet and oral medication.
The 30 men participated in 3 experiments that lasted 3 days each. In 1 of the 3 experiments, they cycled for 60 minutes on the first day and then rested the next day. In the other, they cycled for 30 minutes on 2 consecutive days. In the third, they didn't exercise at all. Throughout the experiments, they ate a standardized diet and were asked to continue with their daily level of activity.
The researchers continuously monitored the men's blood sugar during exercise and for the next couple of days.
When the men didn't exercise at all, they had high blood sugar 32% of the time. But when they biked, their blood sugar was in the high range only 24% of the time, no matter which schedule they followed, Reuters says.
The 2 exercise schedules also did equally well in terms of lowering the men's average blood sugar levels.
The authors suggest that women with type 2 diabetes are likely to reap the same benefits as the men in this study. However, the participants in the current study were relatively healthy. They didn't have heart disease and weren't extremely obese, so the results may not apply to all people with type 2 diabetes, says the article.