Paul LaStayo, PT, PhD, the study's senior author, notes that the eccentric resistance exercise program was specifically designed to increase strength and muscle size, using a recumbent stepper that produced a lengthening contraction, such as when lowering the dumbbell in a bicep curl.
After 3 months, Marcus and LaStayo found that both groups showed improved glucose control and physical performance in a 6-minute walk, as well as a decrease in fat composition within the leg muscles. "This study is particularly interesting because the patients who did both aerobic and resistance exercise had additional improvements, most notably a decreased overall BMI and a gain in leg muscle," Marcus said.
"Although aerobic exercise is still key in treating diabetes, it should not be used in isolation," Marcus observes. "As people age, they lose muscle mass and, subsequently, mobility, resulting in a greater risk of falls. Adding resistance training to the diabetes treatment regimen leads to improved thigh lean tissue which, in turn, may be an important way for patients to increase resting metabolic rate, protein reserve, exercise tolerance, and functional mobility, she notes.
This study is part of PTJ's special issue on diabetes, which illustrates that physical therapy interventions can have a dramatic and positive effect in fighting the complications associated with diabetes. As the movement experts, physical therapists are ideally suited to help this population safely and to effectively address their movement dysfunctions.
|Contact: Jennifer Rondon|
American Physical Therapy Association