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Benefits of training for preventing Type 2 diabetes

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Benefits of training for preventing Type 2 diabetes

First ever randomized controlled trial to compare resistance and aerobic training suggests resistance training has additional benefits for people with prediabetes.


Exercise plays a key role in preventing the development of Type 2 diabetes in people at risk due to their lifestyle and weight. A study, published Open Access in Hindawi’s Journal of Diabetes Research, comparing the relative benefits of resistance and aerobic training has found that, while both types of exercise are beneficial, resistance training has the additional advantage of building muscle mass.

The study – a 12-month, randomized controlled trial conducted by researchers in China and the US – followed 105 people in their mid-fifties to late sixties with prediabetes. Thirty-five undertook a programme of resistance training, 35 aerobic training and 35 no training schedule to act as a control group.

The researchers, led by Qingqing Lou at Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, monitored participants’ muscle and fat tissue levels using CT scans.  A number of other metabolic variables, including glucose and insulin levels, were also recorded, as well as physical measurements, including BMIs and waist-to-hip ratios.

People in both training groups had reduced fat tissue and improved metabolic indicators, and were similarly less likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those in the control group. The researchers were interested to notice, however, an increase in muscle mass in the resistance training group that was not matched for those in the aerobic training group.

At around 0.4%, this increase was relatively small. However, as previous research suggests higher muscle mass can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, resistance training could have a further benefit beyond any preventive effect against diabetes.

The authors believe this is the first randomized controlled trial to compare the benefits of resistance and aerobic training in preventing the progression of prediabetes into diabetes. The study’s overall message is that resistance training should be included in the mix of exercise recommended for people with prediabetes.

Article details: 

Juan Yan, Xia Dai, Jitao Feng, Xiaodan Yuan, et al., “Effect of 12-Month Resistance Training on Changes in Abdominal Adipose Tissue and Metabolic Variables in Patients with Prediabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Journal of Diabetes Research, vol. 2019, Article ID 8469739, 10 pages, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/8469739 


This blog post is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). The illustration is by Hindawi and is also CC-BY.

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