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Aerobics or Resistance Training – Which Is Better for Your Diabetes?

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Granted both forms of exercise-aerobics and resistance training are good for you if you have diabetes. Both help to control blood glucose in people with diabetes. But when it comes to empirical results, is one actually better than the other?

In a 2009 study carried out by researchers from the Hashemite University, Zarqa, Jordan, Jordan University of Science and Technology and the University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, it was found that Resistance training actually lowers HbA1c more than aerobic training in adults with Type 2 diabetes.

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In the study 20 inactive Type 2 diabetic subjects with an average age of 53.5 years were looked at. These had their baseline blood glucose level, HbA1c, heart rate and blood pressure measured and were then matched for sex, age waist circumference and assigned to either resistance or treadmill (i.e. aerobic) groups.

Both groups were placed under the supervision of an exercise therapist and met three times per week for 10 weeks. Over the course of the study, exercise intensity was gradually ratcheted up all the time while making sure that at every stage, care was made to ensure that heart rate, perceived exertion and energy expenditure were equivalent between treatments. Blood glucose was measured before and after each session while HbA1c was measured at the beginning and end of the trial.

The results showed that although pre- and post-exercise blood glucose levels as well as HbA1c were improved in both groups, the resistance training group achieved better glycemic control. After the 10 week resistance program, 80 percent of the subjects had on exercise completions, glucose levels within the normal range, while only 20 percent of the aerobic group were able to meet the target.

In addition to that, the resistance training group had greater reductions in HbA1c compared with the aerobic group (<0.006).

Although aerobic training was able to achieve a reduction in HbA1c of p<0.05, none of the subjects in the aerobic group reached the target <7.o % for HbA1c while 40 % on the other hand of persons in the resistance exercise group were able to meet this goal. These were in fact able to reduce HbA1c values by an average of 18% in contrast to the aerobic groups mere 8%.

Now though one may be tempted to assume that aerobic exercise should be better for heart health, it should be noted that blood pressure and heart resting rate did not change in either group over the 10 week period.

The conclusion one may draw therefore from this study at least as far as diabetic patients are concerned, is that better results may be obtained through resistance training as compared to aerobic exercise using the same amount of effort.

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Having said this however, it should be noted that the best results for preventing or improving/managing your diabetes factors so far as exercise is concerned is a combination of both aerobic and resistance training.

To learn more about managing diabetes and the steps you can take to effectively start reversing your diabetes today, visit for more information.

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