In a new study by the German Center for Diabetes Research, Tübingen University Hospital, and Helmholtz Munich in Munich, Germany, researchers found that healthy levels of brain insulin sensitivity were restored in participants after an 8-week exercise program.
For the study, the researchers recruited 21 healthy participants, 14 men and 7 women, with overweight and obesity and included them in an 8-week aerobic exercise program. The participants led sedentary lifestyles and were at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Three times per week, the participants were led through 1-hour endurance training sessions, including a combination of cycling and walking, to bring individuals up to 80% of their peak oxygen intake, or VO2 max.
Dr. Ahmet Ergin, an endocrinologist, says: “Weight gain is the primary driver of diabetes, and that brain insulin insensitivity is indirectly connected to the disease. This second theory is supported by research showing that people who are overweight are more likely to develop diabetes, even if they don’t have any other risk factors. Ultimately, more research is needed to determine the exact relationship between brain insulin resistance and diabetes. However, it is clear that both conditions are strongly linked, and that managing one can help to prevent the other.”