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Ulster University exercise research to transform diabetes management

Ulster University exercise research to transform diabetes management Ulster University's new research will explore the benefits of a novel time-efficient exercise regime that has the potential to transform diabetes management.

New Ulster University research will explore the benefits of a novel time-efficient exercise regime that has the potential to transform quality of life for countless people living with Type 2 diabetes.

Funded by the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation, Ulster University’s research will investigate the impact of a brief ten-minute exercise session, involving two short cycle sprints, on lowering blood sugar levels in people with the condition. Volunteers who are living with Type 2 diabetes are currently being sought to participate in the study that will take place at the University’s Magee campus.

The research aims to identify if this time-efficient intervention is more effective in managing diabetes than current physical activity recommendations, which typically include a 30 minute moderate-intensity workout.  

Lead researcher from Ulster University, Dr Richard Metcalfe said: "Type 2 diabetes develops when the body doesn't properly respond to insulin. Through time, the resulting high blood sugar levels can then lead to serious side effects such as heart disease, stroke and blindness. Our research has the potential to transform how people across the globe manage their diabetes and potentially reduce the likelihood of such side effects occurring.

Exercise is considered one of the three cornerstones of Type 2 diabetes care programmes, along with diet and medication. However, the majority of Type 2 diabetes patients do not currently achieve the minimum recommended levels of physical activity and therefore are not reaping the associated benefits.

Dr Metcalfe continues: “Research suggests that two of the key barriers to exercise for people with the condition are lack of time and the high levels of required exertion and effort. This Ulster University research aims to reduce these perceived barriers and improve uptake of exercise among patients.

“The exercise is based on high-intensity interval training (HIT), which uses shorts burst of vigorous exercise interspersed with periods of rest, however we have substantially reduced the number and length of the exercise intervals compared to the renowned HIT training. This makes the exercise sessions much shorter and easier but, importantly, we think it will still be effective for lowering blood sugar levels.

“We are actively encouraging people with Type 2 diabetes to take part in the study and help us explore the potential life-changing benefits.”

For further information on participating in this Ulster University study contact Dr Richard Metcalfe at r.metcalfe@ulster.ac.uk, 02871675037.