BACKGROUND Implementation of a structured physical exercise program can improve glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
OBJECTIVE To evaluate the efficacy of aerobic exercise and resistance training (either alone or in combination) in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
DESIGN AND INTERVENTION DARE (Diabetes Aerobic and Resistance Exercise) was a 26-week, single-center, parallel-group, randomized, controlled trial of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus of >6 months' duration. Participants were aged 39-70 years with a baseline [HbA.sub.1c] level 6.6-9.9%. Exclusion criteria included current insulin therapy, regular exercise regime and blood pressure >160/95 mmHg. All participants underwent a 4-week run-in period that comprised 12 sessions of combined aerobic exercise and resistance training; participants who attended [greater than or equal to] 10 sessions were eligible to enter the study. Eligible participants were randomly allocated to one of four groups: aerobic exercise alone; resistance training alone; combined aerobic exercise and resistance training; and no intervention (control group). Exercise was performed three times weekly. The aerobic exercise group progressed from 15-20 min on a treadmill or bicycle ergometer per session at 60% of the maximum heart rate to 45 min per session at 75% of the maximum heart rate. The resistance training group performed 7 different exercises on weight machines per 45 min session, and progressed to 2-3 sets of each exercise at the maximum weight that could be lifted 7-9 times. The combined exercise group performed the full aerobic exercise program plus the full resistance training program. Participants in the control group reverted to their pre-study exercise levels.
OUTCOME MEASURES The primary outcome measure was the change in [HbA.sub.1c] from baseline. Secondary outcome measures included changes in blood pressure, lipid profile, and body composition.
RESULTS A total of 251 participants were eligible for intervention. The median session attendance was 80% (aerobic exercise), 85% (resistance training) and 86% (combined exercise). When compared with the control group, the HbA1c levels were reduced by 0.50% in the aerobic exercise group (P = 0.007) and by 0.38% in the resistance training group (P = 0.038). The combined exercise group had an additional reduction of 0.46% when compared with the aerobic exercise group (P = 0.014) and of 0.59% when compared with the resistance training group (P = 0.001). Decreases in [HbA.sub.1c] levels were greatest for participants with a baseline [HbA.sub.1c] level = 7.5% (P <0.001). For participants with a baseline level [HbA.sub.1c] <7.5%, significant improvements in glycemic control were observed in the combined exercise group only (P = 0.002). Changes in blood pressure and lipid profiles did not differ between the groups. By contrast, participation in a structured exercise program improved body composition.
CONCLUSION Although aerobic exercise or resistance training alone improved glycemic control, additional improvements were observed with the combined exercise regimen.
Field of Research
111199 Nutrition and Dietetics not elsewhere classified