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Low-intensity resistance training improves muscle strength, glycaemic control in diabetics

11 Oct 2018

Low-intensity resistance training with slow movements and tonic force generation (LST) is an effective approach to improving muscle size and strength, as well as glycaemic control, in patients with type 2 diabetes, reports a recent study.

Ten type 2 diabetes patients (mean age 68.2±9.7 years; 50 percent male) underwent twice-weekly LST training for 16 weeks. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and ultrasound imaging were used to assess body composition and muscle thickness, and blood samples were drawn for the quantification of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) levels.

After the 16-week intervention, researchers observed a significant drop in body weight (65.00±8.7 to 64.1±8.4 kg; p=0.0499), fat mass (21.2±5.0 to 20.2±5.0 kg; p=0.012) and body fat percentage (32.8±6.8 percent to 31.5±6.6 percent; p=0.012).

In contrast, there were significant increases in muscle thickness in the front thigh (42.3±6.0 to 44.3±7.5 mm; p=0.021) and the ratio of lean body mass to body weight (63.6±6.6 to 64.7±6.5; p=0.012). There was a similar improvement in maximum leg press strength (62.4±19.9 to 101.2±22.7 kg; p=0.008).

In addition, there was a borderline significant reduction in HbA1c after the 16-week exercise regimen (7.06±0.46 percent to 6.82±0.41 percent; p=0.07).

Researchers also investigated the acute effects of LST on fasting plasma glucose by collecting measurements at rest, immediately after a single bout of exercise, and at 15 and 30 minutes after the exercise. They found that levels of fasting plasma glucose were significantly elevated immediately (128±21 mg/dl) and at 15 (130±23 mg/dL) and 30 (131±25 mg/dL) minutes after exercise than at rest (125±18 mg/dL; p<0.05).

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