Americans seem to have a natural exercise aversion. Research is done, not to look at how much is too much, but rather how absolutely little we need to get benefits.
I thought we had found the answer several years ago when researchers discovered that 9 minutes (yes–NINE minutes) of exercise could improve the way insulin worked in the body by 25%. I was wrong.
There was quite a bit of hype a decade or so ago that involved Russian muscle stim units. One ad even had models with picture perfect abs demonstrating a belt to be worn around that abdomen that would have you looking like them by the end of the day. I had always laughed at these ads, knowing that these results were just no attainable using muscle stim units.
Maybe I was thinking in the wrong context.
Certainly, you will not get rock hard abs from using a muscle stimulating device. But is there a possible positive effect for those of us who may not be able to exercise due to pain, obesity or respiratory issues? The answer may be yes.
In this particular study, researchers looked at 11 diabetic patients. They used an electronic muscle stimulating unit (EMS) for 30 minutes after breakfast and found that the use of this device kept blood glucose levels lower up to 2 hours after the meal.
Pretty amazing, huh?
This does NOT, however, relieve those of us able to exercise from doing so. While this may have a positive effect, I would be surprised if it is even remotely as powerful as exercise itself. This is a tool that could be used in in patients who just are not able to exercise because of a specific reason, not merely from lack of motivation.
This would also never replace good dietary choices and an anti-diabetic lifestyle.
I’ve done a review of the use of this type of device for pain control in the past (see review here). This type of unit can be used for muscle stim or for pain control.
What types of conditions do you think might warrant the use of an EMS unit instead of exercise?