Exercise Can Help Fight Diabetes

WASHINGTON: Weight training works just as well as running on a treadmill or biking to help the most important symptom of type-2 diabetes — long-term control of blood sugar — Canadian experts said on Monday.

Doing both aerobic and resistance training lowered blood sugar levels better than either alone, researchers said — and both appeared to be safe.

At least 194 million people worldwide have diabetes, and the World Health Organization expects the number to rise to more than 300 million by 2025. Most have type-2 diabetes, caused by a combination of genetic predisposition, lack of exercise and rich diet.

Exercise — the type that makes people breathe a little heavily — is known to reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes and can improve the body’s control of sugar.

But there were doubts about the safety and effectiveness of weight training. Ronald Sigal of University of Calgary and colleagues at the University of Ottawa studied 251 people with type-2 diabetes aged 39 to 70.

None exercised regularly. They assigned them to one of four groups — one that did 45 minutes of aerobic training three times a week, another doing the same amount of resistance training, a group that did both, for a total of an hour and a half of exercise three days a week, and a fourth group that did no extra exercise.

The exercisers used treadmills or exercise bikes, or weight machines, at a health club. The volunteers liked the exercise and stuck with it, Sigal said. “I think there is a widespread cynicism even among medical people that people will actually exercise,” Sigal said.

They were given a diet to follow that should have prevented any weight loss, and then their blood sugar, cholesterol, weight and other vital statistics were measured.

Blood sugar levels fell with exercise and most importantly, hemoglobin A1c, which measures the blood sugar average for the past 3 months, fell by half a point on average in the people who did one form of exercise and a full point in those who did both.

A1c should be between 4 and 6 but the patients started out with A1c values ranging from 6.6 to 9.9, Sigal’s team wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Source: The Times Of India

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