Our goal was to investigate the effects of low intensity resistance training on body fat, muscle mass and strength, cardiovascular fitness, and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes.
Twenty-eight overweight women with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to a resistance training group (RG, n = 13) or a control group (CG, n = 15). RG performed resistance training using elastic bands, of which strength was equal to 40 to 50% of one repetition maximum (1RM), for three days per week. Each exercise consisted of three sets for 60 minutes. We assessed abdominal fat using computed tomography, muscle mass using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and muscle strength using Keiser's chest and leg press. Insulin sensitivity was measured using the insulin tolerance test, and aerobic capacity was expressed as oxygen uptake at the anaerobic threshold (AT-VO2) before and after the 12-week exercise program.
The age of participants was 56.4 ± 7.1 years, duration of diabetes was 5.9 ± 5.5 years, and BMI was 27.4 ± 2.5 kg/m2, without significant differences between two groups. During intervention, a greater increase in muscle mass and greater decreases in both total fat mass and abdominal fat were observed in RG compared to those of CG (P = 0.015, P = 0.011, P = 0.010, respectively). Increase in 1RM of upper and lower extremities was observed in the RG (P = 0.004, P = 0.040, respectively), without changes in AT-VO2 and insulin resistance in either group.
In conclusion, the low intensity resistance training was effective in increasing muscle mass and strength and reducing total fat mass without change of insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients.