Exercise Increases Insulin Sensitivity in Horses

Moderate exercise increased insulin sensitivity in healthy horses, thus reducing insulin resistance risk.
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Certain exercise regimens and intensities could increase insulin sensitivity in horses, thereby reducing insulin resistance, according to the results of a recently completed study.

"Exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity in horses; however, it was unclear what exercise intensity is required for this improvement," explained study author Tanja Maria Hess, MV, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

"A better understanding of the effect of different exercise regimens on insulin sensitivity is needed to develop effective management strategies and exercise recommendations by which owners may reduce insulin resistance-related health risks," she relayed.

To that end, Hess and colleagues employed 31 healthy horses of mixed breeds residing at the Second Calvary and Guard Regiment of the Brazilian Army, in Rio de Janeiro. "The majority of the horses in this study were young and not obese, thus lowering the risk of insulin resistance," the team noted

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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