Low-intensity Exercise Accelerates Wound Healing in Diabetic Mice

Wounds. 2018 Mar;30(3):68-71. Epub 2017 Nov 20.


Introduction: Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise has been noted to improve wound healing rates in mice and people, but different intensities of exercise may have different impacts on healing rates. It is important to determine the most beneficial exercise intensity for improving wound healing in people with type 2 diabetes to help prevent wounds from becoming chronic, greatly reduce pain and immobility, and lower the high cost of health care associated with treatment.

Objective: The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of low-intensity exercise compared with high-intensity exercise in terms of the rate of wound healing in diabetic mice.

Materials and methods: Twenty-one 10-week-old female diabetic mice were randomly assigned to a sedentary control group (CON), low-intensity treadmill exercise (LEX) group, or high-intensity treadmill exercise (HEX) group. Mice were exercised for 30 minutes, 5 days per week, for 3 weeks. Mice were wounded on their upper back with a 3.5-mm punch biopsy instrument, and wounds were photographed at the same time every day.

Results: In terms of the length of time it took wounds to fully heal, CON mice healed in an average of 14.4 ± 2.4 days (number of days to decrease to less than 10% of their original size ± standard deviation) and HEX mice in 14.0 ± 3.0 days (P = .396). However, LEX mice healed faster than CON in an average of 10.1 ± 2.3 days (P = .004).

Conclusions: In this preliminary investigation, low-intensity exercise accelerated wound healing rates in diabetic mice but high-intensity exercise did not. Future studies should investigate the mechanisms behind this effect and evaluate different intensities of exercise on wound healing in humans with type 2 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / methods*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Time Factors
  • Wound Healing*
  • Wounds and Injuries / physiopathology*