Those at risk of type 2 diabetes need more exercise to achieve same results as others

by Barbara Hewitt on October 5, 2015

People with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes need to exercise more than others to achieve the same results, according to new research.

It is well known that lifestyle changes involving diet and exercise can help and even overturn type 2 diabetes, but now scientists from Lund University in Sweden show that taking preventative action is also important.

exercise (2)They say that those with an immediate relative such as a mother, father, or sibling with type 2 diabetes have a three times higher risk of developing the condition and should take action by eating healthier and exercising more.

They studied the effects of exercise in people with increased risk of type 2 diabetes caused by being immediately related to someone with the disease in a group that consisted of 50 unfit, slightly overweight but completely healthy men in their 40s.

Half of them belonged to the risk group and the other half served as a control group who did not have relatives with type 2 diabetes and over seven months they were asked to exercise regularly at a fitness centre.

The participants were offered three training sessions per week, including a spinning class and two aerobics classes, during which their exercise intensity and energy consumption was measured.

Before and after the exercise period, they individually underwent a medical examination and a glucose tolerance test to study the cells’ ability to absorb sugar into the blood. The researchers also performed muscle biopsies on the participants that were analysed to study the activity of various genes.

The exercise routine for both groups was equally hard, but the risk group attended more sessions and as a group expended more energy than the control group. After making adjustments to account for the differences, the results showed that both groups benefited from exercising as they all lost weight, reduced their waist size and increased their fitness.

The genetic analyses also showed similar improvements in the gene expressions in both groups.

“The difference was that participants from the risk group had to exercise more to achieve the same results as the participants from the control group,” said Ola Hansson, who led the study.

However, he added that more research is required to answer the question why this is the case, and in the future be able to advice on what type of exercise will be most effective in terms of disease prevention for this group.

“Nevertheless, it is interesting to see that there is a difference despite the fact that all of them are actually healthy and otherwise very similar. We now hope to continue with further studies, including examining whether exercise intensity rather than volume is a crucial factor in determining how the risk group responds to exercise,” said Hansson.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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