Combination Exercise Linked to Benefits in Type 2 Diabetes

Aerobic plus resistance exercise -- but not either alone -- associated with improved HbA1c

TUESDAY, Nov. 23 (HealthDay News) -- In individuals with type 2 diabetes, a combination of aerobic and resistance training -- but not either one alone -- is associated with improved HbA1c levels compared to not exercising, according to research published in the Nov. 24 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Timothy S. Church, M.D., of the Louisiana State University System in Baton Rouge, and colleagues analyzed data from 262 sedentary men and women with type 2 diabetes. All had HbA1c levels of 6.5 to 11 percent. They were randomized to resistance training, aerobic exercise, a combination of the two, or a non-exercise control group for nine months.

The researchers found that, in the combination training group, the absolute mean change in HbA1c was −0.34 percent compared to the control group. The changes weren't statistically significant in the other exercise groups compared to controls. Only the combination exercise group showed improvement in maximum oxygen consumption compared to the control group.

"Based on the results of the HART-D trial, patients with type 2 diabetes who wish to maximize the effects of exercise on their glycemic control should perform both aerobic and resistance exercise. The HART-D trial clarifies that, given a specific amount of time to invest in exercise, it is more beneficial to devote some time to each form of exercise rather than devoting all the time to just one form of exercise," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Study co-authors disclosed financial relationships with outside companies.

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