People with type 2 diabetes can significantly lower their blood sugar with an exercise program that combines aerobics and weight lifting, a study reports.
While that regimen is already recommended for Type 2 diabetes, researchers say the study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, offers some of the best evidence to date that a combined program offers greater benefits than aerobics or weight lifting alone.
“We can now look at individuals with diabetes right in the face and tell them, ‘This is the best exercise prescription for you,' ” said the lead author, Dr. Timothy S. Church, director of preventive medicine research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University.
The study randomly divided 262 inactive people with Type 2 diabetes into four groups — 73 assigned to resistance training three days a week, 72 to aerobic exercise, 76 to the combination and 41 to a non-exercise comparison group. The study was notable in that almost half the participants were not white, and 63 percent were women. After nine months, participants who did the combination training lowered their blood level of the glucose marker HbA1c to 7.3 percent from 7.7 percent, on average, a drop that corresponds to a significantly reduced risk of heart disease, Dr. Church said.