Strength training for type 2 diabetes | Biolayne
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Strength training for type 2 diabetes

Strength training is more effective than aerobic exercise for improving glycaemic control and body composition in people with normal-weight type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial.
Yukari et al. (2023)
REPS: Volume 2 - Issue 18

Resistance training is amazing. From making you jacked, to decreasing your risk of all cause mortality, it’s the exercise modality everyone should be doing. But can it compare to aerobic exercise when it comes to managing type 2 diabetes?!


What did they test? The authors compared the effects of aerobic and resistance training on the management of type 2 diabetes.
What did they find? Resistance training alone was better than aerobic training in managing type 2 diabetes and improving body composition.
What does it mean for you? Resistance training offers much more than just making you “jacked.” Engaging in resistance training comes with many health benefits that can meaningfully impact one’s life.

What’s the Problem?

Resistance training is often viewed as a type of exercise that has mainly aesthetic and strength-related benefits to offer, with its potential health benefits often being overlooked. In addition to making you more jacked, resistance training can significantly improve your health in numerous ways, from improving your cardiovascular health to increasing your bone mineral density and preventing falls when older 1.

We’ve previously looked at the minimum amount of resistance training you need in order to reap some of the health benefits that lifting has to offer, with 60 minutes of weekly resistance training being more than enough 2 to experience a meaningful reduction in the risk for all-cause mortality. 60 minutes of weekly resistance training also seems to be enough for significant increases in strength and hypertrophy, making it an even more attractive exercise modality for improving one’s health and overall life quality. 

Additionally, resistance training can positively affect your blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, contributing positively to the management and prevention of type 2 diabetes 1

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects how your body handles sugar. When we eat, our bodies break down the food into sugar, an energy source. But to get the sugar from our blood into our cells, we need a hormone called insulin, which acts like a key, opening the door for sugar to enter our cells. In type 2 diabetes, your body either doesn't make enough insulin, or the insulin doesn't work correctly which means the sugar can't get into your cells effectively, building up in your blood, causing high blood sugar levels. High blood sugar can be harmful over time, leading to various health problems like heart disease, nerve damage, and kidney issues. In contrast to type 1 diabetes, where one’s pancreas does not produce insulin and thus requires an external administration of insulin, type 2 diabetes can be managed by modifying one’s diet and exercise routine. This is where resistance training may come in clutch as it can help lower blood sugar, improve how sensitive one’s cells are to insulin as well as enhance glucose control by making your muscles more efficient at using glucose. 

But how does resistance training compare to aerobic training regarding managing type 2 diabetes? Is one modality better than the other or does it make sense to do both for optimal results?

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About the author

About Dr. Pak
Dr. Pak

Pak is the Chief Editor of REPS, an online coach and a researcher. Pak did his PhD at Solent University in the UK on “the minimum effective training dose for strength”. As a Researcher, Pak is a Visiting Scholar in Dr. Schoenfeld's Applied Muscle Development Lab in New York City. Pak's research focuses on all...[Continue]

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