Diabetes is one of the most common metabolic disorders in the world. The international diabetes federation has reported that there are an estimated 382 million people currently living with type 2 diabetes, with an expected rise to approximately 590 million by 2035.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with physical inactivity and obesity, for which the prevalence in westernized countries is continuously increasing. Most People diagnosed with the condition are overweight, so the thought of exercising can often be daunting. Nonetheless, it is important that an appropriate exercise plan is carried out as soon as possible to minimise the detrimental effects of the condition. Evidence suggests that physical activity or structured exercise in combination with a healthy diet are the foundations for regressing the condition. The evidence derived in past research studies shows that individuals who maintain a healthy active lifestyle are less likely to develop insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, or type 2 diabetes.  Moreover, numerous studies have shown that type 2 diabetes is associated with a reduction in muscle strength, power and mass, heightening the importance of an active lifestyle.

Strength training is an effective tool in improving glycol-metabolic profile, it has been shown to provide significant benefits to haemoglobin A1c, basal, post-load glucose and insulin levels. In addition to increased glycaemic control, resistance training elicits significant adaptations to neuromuscular function in type 2 diabetic patients. Numerous research studies have clearly shown that adopting a resistance training program significantly increases muscle strength and power, counteracting the deficit caused by type 2 diabetes. An experiment by Castaneda et al 1 showed a strength increase of 33% after subjecting diabetic subjects to 16 weeks of high intensity resistance training. These results are backed up by a variety of other experiments including one conducted by Dustan et al 2 who reported a 42% increase in upper body strength and a 28% increase in lower limb strength, in diabetic patients.

Conclusion

Simply put, if you suffer from type 2 diabetes, partaking in regular exercise is an invaluable tool for the control and regression of the condition. Whether the exercise is resistance based, cardiovascular based or a combination of the two, you will still experience numerous health benefits, such as increased muscle mass, improved blood glucose control, a reduction in stress levels and weight loss.

 

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