Source: Bev Childress
Source: Bev Childress
Exercise offers so many benefits, and hundreds of studies have proven that even a small amount can lead to visible results. However, despite the general benefits, the efficacy of exercise differs for every individual, making it harder to pinpoint what exactly works for someone and what doesn’t.
Back in 2015, a team of researchers from Lund University found that diabetics need to work extra hard in order to see the benefits of exercise. If they want the results normal, healthy people achieve, they’re going to have to work harder and longer.
Disease Risk May Lower Exercise Efficacy
To prove their hypothesis, the researchers gathered 50 men in their 40s. All were unfit and slightly overweight, but otherwise healthy. For seven months, the men exercised at local fitness centers. However, half the men were at a risk of type 2 diabetes (due to family history and lifestyle).
Through repeated testing during the seven-month period, the researchers discovered that the diabetes risk group attended more workout sessions and expended more energy than the control group. Despite that extra effort, their results (decrease in waist size, weight loss, improved fitness) were nearly identical to the control group.
What does this mean? Simple: exercise does work for everyone, but how well it works differs from person to person. Disease risk factors may reduce the effectiveness of a workout, meaning those at risk of metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disorders, or other health problems may have to work extra hard in order to see the same benefits.
The exercise routine for both groups was equally hard, but the risk group attended more sessions, and as a group expended more energy than the control group. After making adjustments to account for the differences, the results showed that both groups benefited from exercising; they all lost weight, reduced their waist size and increased their fitness. The genetic analyses also showed similar improvements in the gene expressions in both groups.
“The difference was that participants from the risk group had to exercise more to achieve the same results as the participants from the control group,” says Ola Hansson, who led the study.
More research is required to answer why this is the case. In the future, such research may enable us to advise people on what type of exercise will be most effective in terms of disease prevention.
“Nevertheless, it is interesting to see that there is a difference despite the fact that all of them are actually healthy and otherwise very similar. We now hope to continue with further studies, including examining whether exercise intensity, rather than volume, is a crucial factor in determining how the risk group responds to exercise,” concludes Ola Hansson.
1. Carl Ekman, Targ Elgzyri, Kristoffer Ström, Peter Almgren, Hemang Parikh, Marloes Dekker Nitert, Tina Rönn, Fiona Manderson Koivula, Charlotte Ling, Åsa B. Tornberg, Per Wollmer, Karl-Fredrik Eriksson, Leif Groop, Ola Hansson. “Less pronounced response to exercise in healthy relatives to type 2 diabetics compared to controls.” Journal of Applied Physiology, 2015; jap.01067.2014.