Performing a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training was
associated with improved glycemic levels among patients with type 2 diabetes
compared with patients who do not exercise, according to results of the HART-D
The level of improvement was not seen among patients who
performed either aerobic exercise or resistance training alone.
“Although both resistance and aerobic training
provide benefits, only the combination of the two were associated with
reductions in HbA1c levels,” Timothy S. Church, MD, MPH, PhD, of
Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, La., and colleagues wrote in
the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The Health Benefits of Aerobic and Resistance Training
in Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes (HART-D) study included 262 sedentary men
and women with diabetes who were aged 30 to 75 years. The researchers randomly
assigned participants to one of four exercise regimens: supervised aerobic
training only; supervised resistance training only (n=73); supervised aerobic
plus resistance training (n=72); or self-directed exercise, which served as the
control group (n=41). The individuals were enrolled in the 9-month exercise
program between April 2007 and August 2009.
Each exercise program was designed so that participants
completed at least 150 minutes of training per week. The researchers observed
the effects of each training program for 9 months.
Improvements after exercise
At baseline, the mean HbA1c level of the entire cohort
was 7.7%. The researchers found that the absolute change in HbA1c in the
combination training group vs. the control group was –0.34%. In neither
the resistance training (–0.16%) nor the aerobic (–0.24%) groups were
changes in HbA1c significant compared with those in the control group,
according to the results.
“Only the combination exercise group improved
maximum oxygen consumption compared with the control group. All exercise groups
reduced waist circumference from (–.75 inches to –1.1 inches)
compared with the control group,” the researchers wrote.
In addition, the resistance training group lost an
average of 3.1 lb fat mass and the combination training group lost an average
of 3.7 lb compared with the control group.
Results also showed that the prevalence of increases in
hypoglycemic medications were 39% in the control group, 32% in the resistance
training group, 22% in the aerobic training group and 18% in the combination
“It is also important to appreciate that the
follow-up difference in HbA1c between the combination training group and the
control group occurred even though the control group had increased its use of
diabetes medications while the combination training group decreased its
diabetes medication uses,” the researchers wrote.
Endocrine Today previously reported the results of this
trial when they were presented by Church at the Obesity Society’s 28th
Annual Scientific Meeting in October.
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