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It is said that "if the exercises can be packed in a pill, this would be the only most prescribed and useful medicine in the nation." Now, new research published in by Experimental Physiology by researchers at the University of Glasgow has highlighted some of the positive health effects of a short-term, highly-intensive exercise program for resistance in overweight men. The results of this study show that a six-week program consisting of three 1
5-minute sessions per week significantly improves insulin sensitivity as well as the size and strength of the muscles in this population.
The authors hope that with further work, these results may be applicable to individuals with Type II diabetes, of whom 90% are overweight or obese. Their findings suggest that short-term exercise-to-fatigue attacks are just as effective in improving insulin sensitivity (how sensitive the body is to the effects of hormone, insulin), as longer (45 minutes) resistive exercises. Such brief sessions may be more appealing and achievable in a world where time is a frequently-cited barrier to physical activity. Insulin sensitivity describes how sensitive the body is to the effects of the hormone, insulin. This hormone is responsible for taking up sugars of our blood in our tissues for storage or for use as energy. When insulin sensitivity decreases (as with type II diabetes), blood sugar increases, which may lead to a tiredness in the short term, but over time it is associated with complications including heart disease and stroke. Previous studies have shown that a 45-minute multi-action resistance training of each exercise can increase insulin sensitivity, muscle size and muscle strength but no study has tested the efficacy of shorter exercises with exercise resistance exercises  team recruits ten overweight men (with a body mass index of 25-30) who train three times a week for six weeks. Each workout included a set of nine standard resistance exercises, such as leg presses and biceps curls, performed at 80% of their maximum limit until repetition of the will (ie, when no further repetition could be done). Muscle size, muscle strength and insulin sensitivity are measured before and after the training period. Comparisons of these measurements indicate that insulin sensitivity increases by 16% after the exercise regimen. Indeed, muscle size and strength have been greatly increased after just two weeks of training, and these variables continue to grow progressively throughout the rest of the study.
These results are exciting and increase the weight of the idea that muscle building activities need to be regular. They also validate the protocol used in this study as an effective way to do so. However, it should be noted that all participants were male and relatively healthy (although overweight) and the study did not have a control group. As such, other populations will need to be screened in a large randomized controlled trial to confirm the observed effects of this study. Obviously, it would be encouraging if similar results were seen in diabetics, given that the total cost of the UK is expected to reach 40 billion pounds per year by 2035/36.
Stewart Gray, who runs the research group, is already thinking about other ways to upgrade his team's work: "Besides these results, we know that the gym is not for everyone, so we need to see if we can get people to do such exercises at home without fitness equipment to achieve such a beneficial effect. "
Resistance exercise improves insulin resistance, glucose levels