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Pumping Iron Improves Insulin Effects in Diabetics

Mon Mar 15, 2004

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Strength training improves the effects of insulin in the muscles of patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a report from Denmark.

"Physical inactivity is becoming close to the number-one leading cause of death in the US," Dr. Flemming Dela from the University of Copenhagen told Reuters Health. "Our study is one which shows how to fight this trend."

Earlier research demonstrated the value of aerobic endurance training in increasing insulin action, the authors explain in the medical journal Diabetes, but most patients with type 2 diabetes are overweight and unlikely to take up endurance training.

Dela and colleagues, therefore, investigated the impact of strength training three times weekly for 6 weeks on insulin action in 10 type 2 diabetics and 7 healthy subjects.

In addition to increasing muscle mass, strength training seemed to enhance the effects of insulin, the researchers report.

"Strength training is a realistic and effective alternative to endurance training and probably much more attractive to the 'average' type 2 diabetic patient," Dela concluded.

"We have followed up on this study by exploring the molecular mechanisms in the muscle that lies behind the effect," Dela added. These results should be published in the near future.

SOURCE: Diabetes, February 2004.

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