Exercise Reduces Diabetic Immobility
The researchers tested 5,016 adults between the ages of 45 and 74 years old with type 2 diabetes mellitus. About a third of the group suffered from reduced mobility at the beginning of the study.
For four years, 2,514 underwent lifestyle intervention consisting primarily of exercise and reducing calories. The other 2,502 patients had only diabetes support and education.
After the four year period, the lifestyle intervention group was 48% less likely to lose mobility compared to the support and education group. The lifestyle intervention group also had significantly more “good mobility” ratings.
Not unexpectedly, the lifestyle intervention group also showed lower levels of obesity and overall improved fitness, measured by treadmill testing. The only adverse events related to the lifestyle intervention were some muscle aches and pains.
The researchers concluded: “An intensive lifestyle intervention that produces weight loss and improves fitness could slow the loss of mobility in such patients. Weight loss and improved fitness slowed the decline in mobility in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes.”
The mechanism is actually quite simple. Exercise increases artery health, which increases circulation and nutrient delivery to muscles and joints. This helps keep the body moving.
The research was funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Written by Case Adams PhD
Rejeski WJ, Ip EH, Bertoni AG, Bray GA, Evans G, Gregg EW, Zhang Q; Look AHEAD Research Group. Lifestyle change and mobility in obese adults with type 2 diabetes. N Engl J Med. 2012 Mar 29;366(13):1209-17.