Kennesaw State researchers to explore exercise interventions in treating Type 2 diabetes

KENNESAW, Ga. | 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 and Robert Buresh
Brian Kliszczewicz and Robert Buresh

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.”

Brian Kliszczewicz and Bob Buresh have earned a six-figure grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the effectiveness of a short, intense bodyweight exercise circuit for diabetics

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

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. 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 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit