People with type 2 diabetes mellitus who perform regular exercise improve their blood sugar control and have reduced body fat. This reduction in fat occurs even if they don’t loose weight, suggesting that some of the fat may have been replaced by muscle.
‘Do exercise’ is one of the recommendations give to people with type 2 diabetes, alongside advice about diet and medication. By carefully analysing data from 14 randomised controlled trials that involved a total of 377 participants, the Cochrane Researchers managed to tease out the component of benefit that can be attributed to the exercise component.
Exercise decreased glucose levels in haemoglobin by 0.6%, enough to have a clinically significant benefit for the person. For someone with a diagnosed value of 9% who needs to reduce to 7%, this represents a simple way of making one third of the change.
The benefits were seen in as little as eight weeks from the start of exercise.
The sorts of exercise that could help do not need to be extreme. It could include cycling to work, using stairs instead of a lift, or deliberately parking far from the shops when going shopping and then carrying your goods back to the car.
Exercise can therefore be recommended as one of the way of managing type 2 diabetes and can help a patient use less, or maybe even totally avoid, medication.
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Peer reviewed publication and references:
Thomas DE et al. Exercise for type 2 diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 3. Art No: CD002968
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