…according to an article at MedPageToday.
“One more rep then I’m outa here!”
The two experimental groups had about 60 participants each, so it was a relatively small study. (In general, the larger the study, the more reliable the findings.) Most participants were white women; mean age was 69. The experimental intervention ran for five months. An excerpt:
In one trial, the participants were randomized to a structured resistance training program in which three sets of 10 repetitions of eight upper and lower body exercises were done 3 days each week at 70% of one repetition maximum for 5 weeks, with or without calorie restriction of 600 calories per day.
In the second study, participants were randomized to an aerobic program which was conducted for 30 minutes at 65% to 70% heart rate reserve 4 days per week, with or without calorie restriction of 600 calories per day.
The beneficial bone effect was seen at the hip but not the lumbar spine.
Thin old bones—i.e., osteoporotic ones—are prone to fractures. Maintaining or improving bone mineral density probably prevents age-related fractures. In a five-month small study like this, I wouldn’t expect the researchers to find any fracture rate reduction; that would take years.
Most elders starting a weight-training program should work with a personal trainer. I don’t quite qualify as elderly, but click if interested in my personal fitness program.
Steve Parker, M.D.
PS: Strength training is also known as weight training and resistance exercise.
“Resistance training, similarly to aerobic training, improves metabolic features and insulin sensitivity and reduces abdominal fat in type 2 diabetic patients,” according to a recent report in Diabetes Care.
Italian researchers randomized 40 type 2 diabetics to follow either an aerobic or strength training program for four months. The increase in peak oxygen consumption (VO2 peak) was greater in the aerobic group, whereas the strength training group gained more strength. Hemoglobin A1c was similarly reduced in both groups, about 0.37%. Body fat content was reduced in both groups, and insulin sensitivity and lean limb mass were similarly increased. Pancreas beta-cell function didn’t change.
According to this one study, neither type of training seems superior overall. If you’re just going to do one type of exercise program, choose your goal. Do you want more strength, or more sustainable “windpower”?
The Pennington Biomedical Research Center found somewhat different results in their larger and more complex study published in 2010. However, they were primarily testing for diabetes control (as judged by hemoglobin A1c improvement), rather the improvements in strength or aerobic power. They found the combination of aerobic and strength training is needed to improve diabetic blood sugar levels. Both types of exercise—when considered alone—did not improve diabetes control.
As for me, I do both strength and aerobic training.
By the way, I only read the abstract of the current research, not the full report.
Steve Parker, M.D.
PS: PWD = people or person with diabetes. Do you like that term or would you prefer “diabetic”?
Reference: Bacchi. Elizabeth, et al. Metabolic Effects of Aerobic Training and Resistance Training in Type 2 Diabetic Subjects
A randomized controlled trial (the RAED2 study). Diabetes Care. Published online before print February 16, 2012, doi: 10.2337/dc11-1655