If your doctor has said you have prediabetes, take steps (now!) to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But what kind of physical activity is best? A study in Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews confirms previous research suggesting resistance training seems to be the way to go, especially if more vigorous forms of exercise are too difficult.
Simply put, resistance training is exercise that uses resistance — your own body weight, for example — to build strength, endurance, and muscle mass. You don’t need any special equipment, and you can do it at home and at any age. Examples of muscle-building moves include push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, squat thrusts, and stair climbing.
This latest study involved 172 people 55 to 75 years old with prediabetes, 137 of whom completed the study. The researchers divided them into four groups: an aerobic training group, a resistance training group, an aerobic training plus resistance training group, and a control group that wasn’t assigned to a specific exercise program. Each exercise group participated in a supervised program one hour per day, three days per week, for 2 years.
At the end of the study, the risk of prediabetes progressing to type 2 diabetes was 74 percent lower in the aerobic exercise and resistance training groups; 65 percent lower in the resistance training alone group; and 72 percent lower in the aerobic exercise only group, compared to the controls. Overall, 21 percent of the study participants in the first group, 26 percent in the second group, 22 percent in the third group, and 69 percent of the control group developed type 2 diabetes during the study period.
Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program, especially if you’re out of shape.