Short periods of high-intensity exercise are already enough to improve some indicators of metabolic health, according to a new scientific study. Explanations.

In a study published in the specialist journal Circulation, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH, United States) reported that approximately 12 minutes of cardio-respiratory exercise had a significant impact on metabolism. More precisely, this short session of physical activity had a positive impact on more than 80% of circulating metabolites, in particular metabolites involved in insulin resistance (glutamate for example) and in lipolysis, in other words the combustion of fats.

 Clearly, no need to work out for hours to see benefits on metabolic health, and thus reduce, even slightly, your risk of overweight, diabetes or prediabetes. Gregory Lewis, Director of Heart Failure at the MGH and co-author of the study, commented:

"What struck us were the effects a brief exercise can have on circulating levels of metabolites that govern key bodily functions such as insulin resistance, oxidative stress, vascular responsiveness, inflammation. and longevity. "

The study here relied on data from the Framingham Heart Study and consisted of measuring blood levels of 588 metabolites before and immediately after about 12 minutes of high-intensity sport in 411 participants. The sample was 63% women and people between 45 and 61 years old. The research team then detected changes for 502 out of 588 metabolites, and for which the levels measured at rest were associated with cardiometabolic pathologies (diabetes, cardiac pathology, etc.).

 The researchers cite in particular glutamate, a metabolite linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and reduced longevity, a metabolite whose blood concentration fell by 29% after exercising. Another example is that of "Dimethyl Guanidino Valeric acid" or DMGV, a metabolite linked to an increased risk of diabetes and liver disease, the concentration of which fell by 18%. The study also showed that other key factors, such as gender and body mass index (BMI), could somehow dampen the benefits of exercise on metabolism.

Besides the fact that it invites to exercise, even for a short duration, this study reveals that the blood concentration of several metabolics can be a good indicator of the physical form of an individual, in the same way as of the Blood tests can tell us about healthy liver or kidneys, the researchers say. “For example, low levels of DMGV can mean that the individual is very physically active,” commented Matthew Nayor, co-author of the study.