Last Updated: 2007-11-19 12:55:11 -0400 (Reuters Health)

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Combined endurance training and resistance-type training is beneficial and well-tolerated in patients with long-standing type 2 diabetes requiring insulin therapy, according to findings published in the October issue of Diabetes Care.

"Regular exercise represents an effective strategy to prevent and/or treat type 2 diabetes," write Dr. Luc J. C. van Loon, of Maastricht University, the Netherlands, and colleagues. "However, the clinical benefits of exercise intervention in a vastly expanding group of long-standing insulin-treated type 2 diabetic patients with comorbidities are less evident."

In their study, the researchers examined the feasibility and benefits of a 5-month low-impact exercise intervention program that combined endurance and resistance-type exercise in 11 male diabetic patients, with a mean age of 59 years. The mean duration of diabetes was 12 years, and the participants had been on exogenous insulin treatment for a mean of 7 years. All of the patients were sedentary and had a high cardiovascular risk profile.

All of the patients completed the exercise intervention and the attendance rate for the supervised sessions was 83%. The exercise training was associated with a decline in truncal fat mass and an increase in lean leg muscle mass. There was an improvement in glycemic control, and a significant decline in both fasting blood glucose concentration and A1C (from 7.6% to 7.2%). The team found no change in exogenous insulin requirements throughout the training program.

"Although selection bias and sample size should be acknowledged when generalizing the outcome of this study, we conclude that low-impact endurance and resistance-type exercise training should be prescribed in the vastly expanding population of long-standing insulin-treated type 2 diabetic patients," Dr. van Loon and colleagues suggest.

Diabetes Care 2007;30:2511-2513.