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Structured Exercise Programs Help Lower Blood Sugar, Study Finds
Date:5/3/2011

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- A structured exercise program helped people with type 2 diabetes lower their blood sugar level more effectively than just receiving advice about getting more physical activity, according to a new review of data.

After analyzing the results of 47 randomized clinical trials, the researchers also found that exercising for longer periods of time was better at bringing blood sugar levels down than exercising more intensively.

"People with type 2 diabetes should engage in regular exercise training, preferentially supervised exercise training," said the study's senior author, Dr. Beatriz Schaan, a medical school professor at the Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre in Brazil. "If these patients can perform training for more than 150 minutes per week, this would be more beneficial concerning their glucose control. However, if they cannot reach this amount of weekly exercise, lower exercise amounts are also beneficial."

Results of the study are published in the May 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The clinical trials included in the current analysis included more than 8,500 participants. The studies used a measure known as hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) to assess a particular treatment's effectiveness. HbA1C, sometimes just called A1C, is a measure of long-term blood sugar control. It provides an average of blood sugar levels over a two- to three- month time period. The results of this test are expressed in terms of a percentage. Generally, less than 6 percent is considered normal. People with diabetes usually have levels higher than this. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes strive to lower their HbA1C levels to less than 7 percent.

Currently, exercise guidelines recommend that people with type 2 diabetes perform at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic exerc
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