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Combination exercise regime 'best' for diabetes patients

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People with type 2 diabetes may be able to improve the way they control the levels of sugar and fat in their blood by combining aerobic exercise with strength training, a new study suggests.

After studying the results of more than a dozen separate trials, the research team at Austria’s University of Vienna suggests a combined training regime may also be the most effective way to control the blood pressure of diabetes patients.

The study looks at the effect of the two types of supervised exercise − on their own and in combination − on blood sugar, blood pressure and blood fats in people with the condition, which can be caused by lifestyle factors such as obesity.

Its findings, published in the European Association for the Study of Diabetes’ journal, Diabetologia, suggest that aerobic exercise training may be more effective at lowering blood sugar levels than resistance training.

But the findings also show that combining the two types of training may be even more effective at cutting levels of sugar and fat in the blood.

The review’s authors said the results cannot be fully relied upon as they include studies with a high risk of bias. They say more high quality trials need to be conducted so a definitive conclusion can be reached.

The authors said evidence suggests that combining the two forms of exercise can also have a positive impact on blood pressure, bodyweight and levels of good cholesterol among patients with type 2 diabetes.

But they also point out that many patients are unlikely to have access to supervised training regimes of the same degree of intensity as those in the studies they analysed.

A total of 14 trials enrolling 915 participants were included.

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