Exercise is essential for everybody, of course. But people with diabetes stand to benefit particularly-provided that their workouts include the right variety of physical activity. This finding, from a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, addresses questions that had not previously been well studied.

Researchers recruited 262 sedentary patients with type 2 diabetes, 63% of whom were women, with an average age of 56. Participants had an average blood test score of 7.7% for hemoglobin A1C, an indicator of how well blood sugar concentration has been controlled in the previous eight to 12 weeks (for comparison, levels under 6% generally are considered normal in people without diabetes). One group of participants did aerobic exercise, walking at a moderate pace for two-and-a-half hours per week...a second group did resistance training, performing a full-body routine (primarily with weightlifting machines) three times per week.. a third group combined the aerobic workout and resistance training, doing a shortened version of both routines so that the total exercise time was the same for the three groups. A fourth group, which did not exercise, served as a control.

After nine months: Participants in all three exercise groups showed improvement in several areas, including reduced waist size, as compared with the non-exercisers—but improvement was greatest in the combination aerobics/resistance training group. Combination exercisers were the only ones who lowered the amount of diabetes medication they needed, lost weight and showed significant improvement in hemoglobin AIC levels.. they also lost the most fat mass—about four pounds' worth, on average.

Bottom line: If you have diabetes, work with your doctor to develop an appropriate exercise regimen that includes both aerobics and resistance training

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