(Oct 15, 2021) — Two Kennesaw State University researchers in the Wellstar College of Health and Human Services have created a novel approach that may help slow the progression of Type 2 diabetes
with just 40 minutes a week of exercise.
Brian Kliszczewicz, associate professor of exercise science, and Robert Buresh, professor of exercise science, have received a three-year, $380,000
grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the effectiveness of a novel high-intensity bodyweight circuit training
regimen that offers a more time-conscious path to treat and manage Type 2 diabetes.
Conventional guidelines call for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week to
maintain a healthy lifestyle, but Kliszczewicz said this time commitment often deters
many people from engaging in exercise. He and Buresh devised this circuit to cut down
the time required, make exercise more accessible to those who might benefit from it,
and ultimately help prevent the advancement of Type 2 diabetes.
“The best exercise program is one people will stick with,” Kliszczewicz said. “Given
that a lack of time is a commonly reported barrier to exercise, a regimen of short-duration,
high-intensity exercise is promising for helping patients develop and maintain healthy
habits while also managing diabetes.”
Preliminary data from the KSU researchers suggest that Type 2 diabetes patients, even
those with some physical limitations, can safely participate in a total of 40 minutes
a week of this prescribed exercise program at home. The data also suggest some possible
additional benefits of this exercise, including a decrease in the research participants’
fasting glucose, cholesterol and glucose tolerance.
The researchers are partnering with Wellstar Health System to expand and continue their research in finding practical and cost-effective ways
to lower health risks in Type 2 diabetes patients. Wellstar Health System will help
identify and evaluate participants and provide access to a broader pool that represents
male, female and minority populations.
“Wellstar is delighted to participate in this critical initiative to determine whether
high-intensity circuit training is an appealing and effective exercise intervention
for Type 2 diabetes,” said Alencia Washington, assistant vice president of Research
Administration at the Wellstar Research Institute. “The impressive grant score and
feedback from the NIH on this research study further underscore the significance of
this work. Evaluating, researching, and developing innovative treatment options and
approaches to prevent and manage highly prevalent diseases is essential. Wellstar
looks forward to the impactful insight this research will undoubtedly provide.”
During the 16-week research study, selected participants will be divided into two
groups: those who will perform the high-intensity bodyweight circuit training exercises,
such as modified squats, crunches and sit-ups, for 40 minutes each week; and those
who will perform more traditional exercises, such as moderate aerobic activity, for
150 minutes each week. The grant will also cover the purchase of wearable devices
that will track participants’ physical activity.
In addition to working with Wellstar Health System physicians, the KSU researchers
will involve graduate and undergraduate students in assisting with the research process,
including data collection such as measuring and recording body composition, taking
blood samples for assessment, and downloading and documenting step counts from the
wearable devices. Austin Brown, assistant professor of statistics, completes the team
as the statistical consultant for the project.
“We are very excited about Dr. Kliszczewicz’s new NIH grant, which will support his
impactful research to improve health and fitness among adults with diabetes,” said
Monica Swahn, dean of KSU’s Wellstar College of Health and Human Services. “We need
more interventions to mitigate the adverse health consequences among people with diabetes
and that is exactly what this research is about. This is research with relevance.”
– Jacob Segura
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.