Many doctors consider exercise a key player in managing type 2 diabetes — and doctors already advise their diabetic patients to get moving. But, how much exercise is adequate? And what kind? A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed not all exercise is the same and that a combination of aerobic exercises and weight training is better for managing type 2 diabetes than either one alone.

The study involved over 250 patients from age 39 to 70, with type 2 diabetes who were not regular exercisers. They were randomly placed in to four groups: aerobic, weight training, a combined group of both, or none. For over 21 weeks, the aerobic group worked out for 45 minutes 3 times a week on a treadmill or stationary bike. The weight training group did the same amount of time on weight machines. The combination group did the full aerobic plus weight-training regimens.

Overall, the study saw improvements in blood-sugar control in all the patients who worked out. Compared with the patients who did not workout at all, people in the aerobic group had a decrease of more than .50% in their A1C values — a test that measures blood sugar management over the previous two to three months. The weight training group had a .38% decrease compared with the patients who did not workout at all. But the combined exercise group demonstrated additional progress. In those patients, the A1C values decreased an added .46% over the aerobic group, and .59% more that the weight training group. Compared to the group that did not work out, the combination group’s A1C value was almost 1% lower.

A 1% decrease is not small, and it goes further than managing blood sugar. That 1% means a 15% to 20% reduction in heart attack risk and stroke, and a 25% to 40% decreased risk of diabetes related eye or kidney disease, according to the study.

Across the three exercise groups, numbers suggested that working out also led to weight loss — even though patients were put on diets specifically designed to maintain weight — and a reduction in belly fat was seen, too.

So, if you’re a type 2 diabetic interested in improving your numbers (and health in general), get to Future Fitness Centers today to start an aerobic exercise class and strength training regimen tailored to you. Also, our nurses and trainers are here to help you achieve your goals.

But before you hit the gym you may want to consult your doctor if you are overweight or have any other health concerns like high blood pressure.