A combination of exercise counseling by physical therapists and fitness centre training can prove very helpful in improving muscular strength and exercise capacity in people with type II diabetes.
The finding was suggested by a randomized clinical trial.
Published in the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), a report on the findings highlights the fact that type 2 diabetes often leads to numerous health complications, including a decline in muscular strength and exercise capacity.
And studies conducted in the past have already suggested that a decline in muscular strength increases the risk of loss of physical function, and that a decline in exercise capacity increases the risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.
"Improving muscular strength and exercise capacity in people with type 2 diabetes is crucial to preventing loss of physical function and decreasing comorbidity and mortality in these patients," said lead researcher J. David Taylor, assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Central Arkansas.
Although supervised exercise programs improve both muscular strength and exercise capacity in people with type 2 diabetes, medicare and other health insurance programs do not currently reimburse physical therapists and other clinicians for these exercise programs.
During the current study, 24 type 2 diabetes patients were randomly allocated to either an experimental group that received two months of physical therapist-directed exercise counseling and fitness centre-based exercise training or a comparison group that received two months of laboratory-based, supervised exercise.
Exercise training for all participants consisted of resistance training (chest press, row, and leg press exercises) and aerobic training (walking or jogging on a treadmill) as recommended for people with type 2 diabetes by the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Sports Medicine.
Participants in the experimental group received a face-to-face counseling session at baseline and one month after baseline, weekly 10-minute telephone calls, and seven-day-per-week access to a local fitness centre.
Each participant in the comparison group received the same prescribed exercise program as the experimental group, but in a supervised environment.
The researchers admit that both groups had significant improvements in muscular strength and exercise capacity following exercise training.
They, however, add that the results showed no significant differences in improvements between these two groups.
"The fact that there were no significant differences in improvements between patients who received exercise counseling and those in a supervised program suggests that physical therapists may make an evidence-based choice of prescribing either exercise counseling combined with fitness centre-based training or supervised exercise training for patients with type 2 diabetes," said Taylor.