Resistance Training, Aerobic Combo Superior for Diabetes Control
Diabetics who perform a combination of resistance and aerobic exercises were found in a study to have better overall blood sugar control when compared to inactivity or either type of exercise alone. The study is the first to target the best form of exercise for diabetes control that the researchers note has clinical and public health implications.
HbA1c levels are a measurement of how well a patients' diabetes is controlled over a 3 month period. The goal is to keep the value less than 7%. Performing resistance training in combination with walking or other aerobic activity improved HbA1c levels -0.34%, but only for the group given both types of exercises.
Only Combination Exercises Lower HbA1c Levels for Diabetes
The study that took place over 9 months, called the HART-D trial, compared 262 sedentary men, split into three groups. The authors write, "Only the combination exercise group improved maximum oxygen consumption compared with the control group.
All exercise groups reduced waist circumference from [-.75 to -1.1 inches] compared with the control group. The resistance training group lost an average of 3.1 lbs. fat mass and the combination training group lost an average of 3.7 lbs., compared with the control group."
The bottom line say the authors is that any form of exercise is good for diabetics, but only the combination of resistance training and aerobics improved HbA1c levels. Another positive finding was that fewer diabetics in the combination exercise group had to increase their diabetes medications.