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Lower Blood Sugar & Reduce Diabetes Risk with Shorter Workouts

Short on time? A mini workout may still do good things for your blood sugar.

In a study of young inactive men, doing a series of sprints on exercise bikes every couple of days seemed to help lower blood sugar and improve insulin function—even though their total exercise time topped out at less than 10 minutes a week.

No Excuses
Okay, so longer workouts are truly better for your overall health and longevity. But knowing that a mini workout could still lower blood sugar should inspire you to squeeze in at least a little something every day—even if it's just a few trips up and down the stairs. In the study of sedentary young men, body benefits occurred after just 2 weeks of the men doing four to six 30-second bike sprints every couple of days—pedaling off roughly 250 calories in a week.

How Does It Work?
Short, intense workouts may help reduce diabetes risk by improving the way your muscles take up and use blood sugar. But these workouts won't help you lose weight. And short, high-intensity training may not be appropriate for people with heart trouble, high blood pressure, or other medical conditions. (Body size or exercise: Which matters most? Read more about the debate in this article.)

Try these other tips for getting more out of your body work (and lowering blood sugar):

Medically reviewed in October 2018.

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