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Exercise Combination Helps Control Blood Sugar

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Research has shown for some time that exercise is helpful for people with diabetes. What has not been clear is the best kind of exercise. A new study from Louisiana demonstrates that a combination of both resistance training and aerobic exercise works better than either alone. In this investigation, volunteers with type 2 diabetes were randomized to four different groups. The control group did stretching and relaxation. An aerobic exercise group walked on a treadmill for 150 minutes each week. The resistance group did two sets each of bench press, seated rowing, shoulder press and pull down and three sets each of leg press, leg extension and leg flexion and two sets each of abdominal crunches and back extensions.

Once the participant was able to complete 12 reps on two consecutive sessions the prescribed weight was increased. Researchers found that all exercise groups reduced weight circumference. Only the combination group that performed both aerobic and resistance exercise lowered their hemoglobin A1c significantly. This is a measure of long-term blood sugar control. The take message seems to be that people with diabetes would benefit from both aerobic and resistance exercise.

[JAMA, Nov. 24, 2010]

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It is clear how often the aerobic group exercised, but the number of reps per day or per week isn't clear for the resistance group.

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