Low-intensity workouts help wound healing for diabetics

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Lower-intensity exercise is better for healing, researchers say.
Lower-intensity exercise is better for healing, researchers say.

Low-power exercise may be the key to speeding wound healing rates in patients with diabetes, a new study suggests.

Previous research showed moderate-intensity exercise to improve wound healing in both mice and human subjects, but little was known about the impact different intensities could have on healing rates, said researchers from Bowling Green State University.

Their study, published online in November in Wounds, assigned diabetic mice with wounds to a sedentary control group, a group that exercised on a treadmill at a low intensity, and a group that worked out at a high intensity.

The results showed that the mice in the low-intensity group healed around 10 days faster than the control group. The study's authors suggest that the exercise may have decreased blood glucose and increased insulin sensitivity, which helps wounds heal quicker.

Mice that exercised at a high intensity didn't heal their wounds any faster than the mice that remained sedentary, researchers said. A possible reason for that result could be that the higher-intensity workout stressed out the mice, triggering a corticosterone response, which in turn can have a negative effect on healing.

“Based on these results, low-intensity exercise should be recommended to improve the healing of wounds in [Type 2 diabetes],” wrote lead researcher Todd Keylock, Ph.D.