Even 30 minutes of exercise a week can lower your diabetes risk

November 13, 2013 | by

World Diabetes Day 2013 is Thursday, Nov. 14, and in tune with this year's theme, "Protect our future," Americans and everyone else are being encouraged to engage in regular physical activity to lower their risk of developing diabetes later in life.

The amount of exercise needed to help ward off the disease might be less than you think. In the video above, Raynald Samoa, M.D., assistant professor at City of Hope's Division of Molecular Diabetes Research, discusses recent research suggesting that even a few minutes of vigorous exercise a week can reduce the risk of diabetes.

The study, published in the January 2012 issue of the European Journal of Applied Physiology, had sedentary subjects participate in three 10-minute sessions of cycling a week. Each session included 10- to 20- second bursts of high-intensity sprints along with low-intensity warm up, recovery and cool down.

After six weeks, the researchers found that, compared to a control group that continued their sedentary lifestyles, the cycling participants had a 28 percent increase in insulin sensitivity, potentially lowering their likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

Further research is needed to support these findings, but Samoa said that these results do show that "any exercise you do is better than none."

Currently, the American Diabetes Association recommends that people engage in moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, to minimize their risk of developing diabetes. And of course, it also recommends a healthy diet and that people not start smoking or, if they smoke, to stop.