Diabetics Benefit from Resistance Exercises
Experts agree that exercise benefits patients with diabetes mellitus in various ways, in terms of reducing weight, regulating blood sugar levels and improving overall health. Different studies have shown that aerobic exercises combined with resistance training exercises significantly improve blood sugar levels and metabolic health in general. Current exercise guidelines from various health experts of the federal government, the American Diabetes Association, and the American College of Sports Medicine, advise doing a combination of aerobic and resistance exercises for optimal health benefit.
A new study shows that progressive resistance training can lead to better blood glucose control. Less insulin resistance and greater muscle mass increase among older patients who have type 2 diabetes compared to low-resistance “sham” exercise.
The study called Graded Resistance Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes in Older Adults (GREAT2DO) study was published recently in Diabetes Care by University of Sydney, Australia researchers led by Yorgi Mavros, a PhD candidate and postgraduate teaching fellow. It involved 103 diabetic patients who were older than 60 years old and were randomly assigned to do either supervised, high-intensity progressive resistance training (PRT) exercises or low intensity, slow weight training (sham) exercises, three days a week for 12 months.
Eighty-six patients completed the study. The investigators found that although there were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of changes in body weight and fat mass, metabolic parameters were significantly improved only in the PRT group. They concluded that progressive resistance training could reduce blood sugar levels and insulin resistance by increasing muscle mass and/or reducing body fat.
Experts believe that progressive resistance training is beneficial for older adults, especially the obese and those with osteoarthritis, who might have difficulty doing aerobic exercises.
Tucker, M. Resistance Training Benefits Type 2 Diabetics. Medscape.