High-Intensity Interval Training in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: a Systematic Review


Purpose of Review

High-intensity exercise may beneficially impact on insulin sensitivity. However, there is still uncertainty on the actual impact of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on chronic physiologic adaptations among patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We aimed to systematically search and appraise the evidence base on the effects of HIIT in comparison to mild- or moderate-intensity interval training (MMIIT) on glycemic control inT2DM.

Recent Findings

A total of 5 RCT met the inclusion criteria. Most studies presented significant differences for weight and BMI with HIIT, and with both interventions for total body fat. For the other health-related variables (systolic and diastolic BP, fasting cholesterol, LDL and HDL, triglycerides, fasting glucose, and HbAc1), only 1 study provided detailed results for HIIT, showing significant differences for systolic BP and HDL cholesterol in 2 studies, total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides, whereas for MIIT, only 1 study brought significant differences for LDL cholesterol. For glucose levels, significant differences were reported in 4 studies for both HIIT and MMIT, but only two studies used the percentage delta assessment tool, whereas 1 study only showed significant improvements for HIIT.


The number of studies for the analysis is not precise as to the statements regarding the results of the intervention proposed for this public, since they do not allow identifying a consistency of the findings, not presenting diversity between the training methods and the different methods of volume control and intensity of training.

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Correspondence to Joni Márcio de Farias.

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Djeniffer Elias da Silva, Antônio José Grande, Leonardo Roever, Gary Tse, Tong Liu, Giuseppe Biondi-Zoccai, and Joni Márcio de Farias declare no conflict of interest.

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da Silva, D.E., Grande, A.J., Roever, L. et al. High-Intensity Interval Training in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: a Systematic Review. Curr Atheroscler Rep 21, 8 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11883-019-0767-9

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  • Exercise
  • High-intensity interval training
  • Diabetes mellitus