High-force Eccentric Resistance Training Improves Glucose Control in Diabetic Patients

Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus gain added benefit if their exercise regimen included aerobic activities and eccentric resistance training.

Researchers at the University of Utah Department of Physical Therapy have found that patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus gained added benefit if their exercise regimen included both aerobic activities and eccentric resistance training, meant to specifically increase muscle size and strength.

The study, “Comparison of Combined Aerobic and High-Force Eccentric Resistance Exercise with Aerobic-Only Exercise for People with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus”, was published the November 2008 issue of Physical Therapy. It examined the results of 15 patients who participated in a 16-week supervised exercise program. One group of patients participated in a combination of aerobic and eccentric exercises, while the other solely had aerobic exercises.

This study is particularly interesting because the patients who did both aerobic and resistance exercise had additional improvements, most notably a decreased overall BMI and a gain in leg muscle,” said lead researcher Robin L. Marcus, PT, PhD, OCS.

“Although aerobic exercise is still key in treating diabetes, it should not be used in isolation,” Marcus added. “As people age, they lose muscle mass and, subsequently, mobility, resulting in a greater risk of falls. Adding resistance training to the diabetes treatment regimen leads to improved thigh lean tissue which, in turn, may be an important way for patients to increase resting metabolic rate, protein reserve, exercise tolerance, and functional mobility.”

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Additional information can also be found in the 25-minute podcast “Fat, Muscle, and the Benefits of Exercise for People with Diabetes”, during which Marcus and lead author Paul LaStayo, PT, PhD, further discuss the role of fat in people with diabetes.

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