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Get Pumped Up to Lower Diabetes Risks

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photo by Adrian Clark via Flickr.com Creative Commons 

According to a recent study published in Diabetes Care, adding resistance training to the exercise regimens of patients with type 2 diabetes resulted in improved metabolic features, greater insulin sensitivity, and reduced abdominal fat. Many diabetics shy away from resistance training and only perform aerobic-type exercise, like walking or cycling. This study showed the importance of adding resistance training to a diabetic’s exercise prescription.

Testing hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) shows the average level of blood sugar over the past two to three months. This is a common test in type 2 diabetics. Dr. Bacchi and associates evaluated the effects of both aerobic and resistance training on this biomarker for blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Not surprisingly, after four months of intervention, they found an increase in peak oxygen consumption by the aerobic group and an increase in strength in the resistance training group. These are typical results you would find in a non-diabetic population, not just the diabetic groups they were testing. However, they did notice that HbA1c levels were similarly reduced in both groups. Previous studies have typically just examined the effects of aerobic training on HbA1c levels, not comparing them to the effects of resistance training. Additionally, fat in the mid-section, both deep inside your body and the type you can pinch, were similarly reduced in both groups. Insulin sensitivity was also comparatively increased in both the aerobic and resistance training groups.

The authors concluded that similar to aerobic training, resistance training improves metabolic features and insulin sensitivity an reduces abdominal fat in patients with type 2 diabetes. So, don’t spend all your time on the treadmill: go pump some iron to improve those diabetic levels!

Source: Elisabetta Bacchi, Carlo Negri, Maria Elisabetta Zanolin, Chiara Milanese, Niccolò Faccioli, Maddalena Trombetta, Giacomo Zoppini, Antonio Cevese, Riccardo C. Bonadonna, Federico Schena, Enzo Bonora, Massimo Lanza, and Paolo Moghetti. Metabolic Effects of Aerobic Training and Resistance Training in Type 2 Diabetic Subjects: A randomized controlled trial (the RAED2 study) Diabetes Care published ahead of print February 16, 2012

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