People with a chronic disease like diabetes really need to exercise on a regular basis. On the advice of a healthcare professional, regular exercise can have a positive influence on even serious forms of diabetes, regardless of type.
I have seen this firsthand with the patients and clients that have taken my advice and utilized a personalized exercise program that I have designed for them.
But that leads us to the main question: what type of exercise is the best and most effective against diabetes?
I have always suggested that a combination of cardiovascular and weight-training exercises be used for the best results. I have not changed my view regarding the clinical effectiveness of exercise in people suffering from diabetes.
Now it seems as though some new research is supporting my belief. According to this new research, the combination of resistance exercises and aerobic activity by people suffering from diabetes has a better cumulative outcome than if each was applied separately.
In this research report, the authors gleaned evidence from previous trials that randomly assigned people with diabetes to several groups that utilized each exercise approach for a duration of at least eight weeks. Their analysis included 14 different trials involving 915 adult participants.
Head-to-head comparisons revealed that aerobic exercise seems to be more effective at reducing HbA1C (damage from high blood sugar), triglycerides, and fasting blood sugar levels relative to resistance exercise.
However, when a combined program of resistance exercise and aerobic exercise were utilized, some interesting facts emerged: a combined exercise approach was even more effective at lowering HbA1C, triglycerides, and fasting blood sugar than any single exercise regimen.
This is what I have been recommending for years to everyone who has diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
According to one of the study’s authors, Lukas Schwingshackl of the University of Vienna in Austria, “The American College of Sports Medicine has stated that combining resistance training and aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week may be more effective at improving blood sugar control than focusing solely on one type of training.”
Dr. Patrick McBride, who runs a diabetes clinic at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and was also involved in the study, commented, “I think it’s really important for people with diabetes to remember that exercise is a critical component of being well—you can’t do it with just diet… I always tell people that if they exercise more than 30 minutes they’ll burn up blood sugar for 24 hours.”
These are very important remarks from experts in this field.
Diet alone cannot possibly help a person who has metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes; exercise is needed.
Exercise does its magic by improving the peripheral utilization of blood glucose. In simple terms, exercise affects the glucose receptor on muscles and fat cells, improving the flow of glucose into muscle cells and the flow of stored body fat out of fat cells for energy. This energy is in the form of free-fatty acids from stored triglycerides.
On our cells there are specialized receptors called glut-1 and glut-2 that are proteins that bind with insulin in the presence of glucose in the blood. Exercise can and does improve glucose utilization by influencing the glut-1 and glut-2 receptors on our cells to work better.
The kicker here? You have to combine this exercise in the right amount and at the proper intensity to accomplish this task.
Check with your health care professional regarding your own exercise participation and how best to utilize the positive effects of exercise to help control your diabetes.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Lehman, S., “Combining Aerobic, Resistance Exercise May Be Best for Diabetes,” Reuters Health web site, July 10, 2014; http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/10/us-diabetes-exercise-idUSKBN0FF1O120140710, last accessed August 6, 2014.
Schwingshackl, L., et al., “Impact of different training modalities on glycaemic control and blood lipids in patients with type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and network meta-analysis,” SpringerLink web site, July 5, 2014; http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00125-014-3303-z#page-1, last accessed August 6, 2014.