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Which Is Better for BG Control: Aerobic or Anaerobic Exercise?

Different types of exercise lower blood glucose in different ways…. 

Austrian researchers analyzed data from 14 different studies with approximately 900 individuals with type 2 diabetes. The studies focused on the impact of aerobic or resistance training including weightlifting in improving diabetes patients’ health.

The researchers found that a combination of both aerobic and resistance training was more effective in blood glucose control, management of fats, blood pressure and weight, than either aerobic or resistance training individually. The researchers also found that training under supervision is much more effective than training under no supervision.

Dr. Gerald Bernstein, director of the Diabetes Management Program at Friedman Diabetes Institute stated both methods of exercise can effectively reduce blood glucose, but aerobics and resistance exercises do not have the same effects. Resistance training such as weightlifting increases muscle mass, which can decrease insulin resistance and therefore increase the utilization of glucose resulting in the reduction of blood glucose compared to aerobic training which burns glucose mainly during training.

Practice Pearls:
  • Exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well as managing a chronic disease like type 2 diabetes.
  • Aerobic training and resistance training are effective in lowering blood glucose in combination.
  • Not only does exercise help control blood glucose, it also helps control blood fats, blood pressure, and overall weight in an individual.

Bernstein G, etc. Aerobic/Strength Training Combo May Be Best Workout for Diabetics- published July 2, 2014 in the journal Diabetologia.