"For individuals with diabetes, the optimal program involves aerobic and resistance training," said Church.
"The biggest consumer of blood sugar is skeletal muscle, and anything you do to improve the health of your muscles will help control your use of blood sugar," he noted.
Although the study didn't include people with type 1 diabetes, Church said he suspects that they would benefit from the combination of exercises as well. And, he added, it's likely that non-diabetics would get additional benefits from a combination of exercises, too.
"Someone who wants to maximize the impact on glucose control and maximize the use of their time should do both aerobic and resistance exercise," said Dr. Ronald Sigal, a professor of medicine at the University of Calgary and the author of an accompanying editorial in the same issue of the journal. "Even a relatively small amount of resistance exercise -- one set twice a week for about 20 minutes -- makes a difference."
Learn more about exercise and diabetes from the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
SOURCES: Timothy S. Church, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., director of preventive medicine research, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, La.; Ronald Sigal, M.D., professor of medicine, University of Calgary, Canada; Nov. 24, 2010, Journal of the American Medical Association
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