Physical Activity and Insulin Resistance


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Abstract

Insulin resistance, often caused by excessive body weight, is a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Several studies have shown the beneficial effects of physical activity on insulin resistance. A single bout of physical activity, whether it is aerobic or resistance exercise, significantly improves insulin sensitivity up to 48h after a single exercise session. Both endurance and resistance exercise training lead to prolonged beneficial effects on insulin action. In addition, many studies have shown the inverse relation between a high daily physical activity level and insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease. Although one might argue about what type, frequency, intensity or duration of physical activity is the most beneficial, the real question at issue is how to implement physical activity into subjects' daily life routines in order to achieve long-term, in essence lifetime improvements in their total daily physical activity level and hence insulin sensitivity. To maximise the chance of long-term success, subjects should be encouraged to be as physically active as possible, have a variety of activity options, build activities into their daily routines and develop an active lifestyle, rather than just following exercise prescriptions.

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