Frequent Exercise Holds Back Diabetes

Published Online: Monday, December 1, 2003

    Individuals over age 40 who use aerobic exercise to prevent or control diabetes need frequent and regular workouts if they want the full benefit of that exercise, according to the findings of a Mayo Clinic study published recently in Diabetes. For the study, the researchers looked at 65 healthy, but mostly sedentary, men and women aged 21 to 87. The participants took part in a 4-month aerobic exercise program in which the intensity and length of training sessions increased over time.

    At the outset of the study and a few days after the final exercise session, the researchers measured the participants? insulin sensitivity, abdominal fat, and enzyme systems involved in cellular energy conversion. They found that middle-aged and older people are unable to sustain insulin sensitivity produced by aerobic exercise. A decline in insulin sensitivity is normal as people age, and that reduced insulin sensitivity makes them more prone to developing diabetes. Also, both younger and older study participants had reduced fat and increased enzymes involved in cellular production following an evaluation after the exercise program.

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