Exercise for the management of type 2 diabetes: a review of the evidence

Acta Diabetol. 2010 Mar;47(1):15-22. doi: 10.1007/s00592-009-0126-3. Epub 2009 Jun 3.


The aim is to critically review the more relevant evidence on the interrelationships between exercise and metabolic outcomes. The research questions addressed in the recent specific literature with the most relevant randomized controlled trials, meta-analysis and cohort studies are presented in three domains: aerobic exercise, resistance exercise, combined aerobic and resistance exercise. From this review appear that the effects of aerobic exercise are well established, and interventions with more vigorous aerobic exercise programs resulted in greater reductions in HbA(1c), greater increase in VO(2max) and greater increase in insulin sensitivity. Considering the available evidence, it appears that resistance training could be an effective intervention to help glycemic control, especially considering that the effects of this form of intervention are comparable with what reported with aerobic exercise. Less studies have investigated whether combined resistance and aerobic training offers a synergistic and incremental effect on glycemic control; however, from the available evidences appear that combined exercise training seems to determine additional change in HbA(1c) that can be seen significant if compared with aerobic training alone and resistance training alone.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerobiosis
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / prevention & control
  • Lipids / blood
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Fitness


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Lipids