Diabetes sufferers who participate in aerobic and resistance exercises are more likely to exhibit lower glucose concentrations in their blood streams than sedentary patients, a new study, published in the November issue of American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)'s Physical Therapy Journal (PTJ) reveals. This happens because continuous exercises influence the components of the human fat cells, which play a major role in the onset and development of both diabetes and obesity. "This study, which comes as the nation marks American Diabetes Month, is especially pertinent in light of new research highlighting the escalating costs and serious side effects of certain diabetes drugs. Patients with diabetes and their health care providers should be encouraged that physical therapy has been shown to be a cost-effective and safe treatment alternative," argued lead study researcher, Robin L Marcus, PT, PhD, OCS, who is also an assistant professor at the Department of Physical Therapy at University of Virginia.
The study, conducted on 15 people suffering from type II diabetes over the course of 16 weeks, compared the results obtained by the two work groups the participants had been divided in. One of them, comprising of seven test subjects, performed both aerobic and resistance exercises, while the other, composed of the eight remaining participants, only took aerobic courses during that time.
At the end of the survey, the results showed that the former group obtained much more concrete results than the latter, in terms of glucose control. Strenuous exercises influenced the number of fat cells in the body and reduced their influence on the metabolic system. The body was able to absorb energy from nutrients more efficiently and consumed it right afterwards, preventing the forming of new fat cells, thus controlling weight.
“Although aerobic exercise is still key in treating diabetes, it should not be used in isolation. As people age, they lose muscle mass and, subsequently, mobility, resulting in a greater risk of falls. Adding resistance training to the diabetes treatment regime leads to improved thigh lean tissue which, in turn, may be an important way for patients to increase resting metabolic rate, protein reserve, exercise tolerance, and functional mobility,” Robin concluded.