Diabetics who exercise can trim waist size and body fat, and also control blood glucose even if they do not see cardiorespiratory benefits or improvement in ability to take in oxygen, new research has found.
Researchers found that waist circumference, percentage of body fat and hemoglobin A1c levels, a test of long-term blood sugar, all improved in diabetic participants who exercised compared to those who did not.
And the beneficial effects of exercise were seen whether they participated in aerobics, resistance training, or a combination of the two compared to a control group that did not exercise.
“What we observed is that exercise improves diabetes control regardless of improvement in exercise capacity,” said co-senior author of the study Jarett Berry, associate professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in the US.
Following an exercise training program generally improves fitness. Researchers typically measure fitness by the ability of the respiratory system to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen. The more you train, the better your ability to take in oxygen.
But a sub-group of exercisers, considered non-responders, are unable to improve their cardiorespiratory fitness levels despite diligent exercise, study first author Ambarish Pandey, cardiology fellow at UT Southwestern, said.
Using data from the Health Benefits of Aerobic and Resistance Training in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes (HART-D) trial, the study looked at whether non-responders who exercised saw improvements in their diabetes control.
The results appeared in the journal Diabetes Care.
“This finding suggests that our definition of ‘non-responder’ is too narrow. We need to broaden our understanding of what it means to respond to exercise training.”