Effect of 12-week resistance exercise program on body composition, muscle strength, physical function, and glucose metabolism in healthy, insulin-resistant, and diabetic elderly Icelanders

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012 Nov;67(11):1259-65. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gls096. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


Background: Insulin is a stimulator of skeletal muscle protein anabolism and insulin resistance might therefore negatively affect muscle protein metabolism. We investigated muscle mass and physical function before and after a resistance exercise program in participants with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in comparison to healthy controls.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled intervention designed to investigate resistance training among older adults. Glucose metabolism status was not a selection criteria for the trial, and group designation was done retrospectively. Participants (N = 237, 73.7 ± 5.7 y, 58.2% women) participated in a 12-week resistance exercise program (3 times/week; three sets, six to eight repetitions at 75%-80% of the one-repetition maximum), designed to increase strength and muscle mass of major muscle groups. Body composition, muscular strength, timed up and go test, 6-minute walk for distance, and blood chemical variables were measured at baseline and endpoint.

Results: Participants completing the study (n = 213) experienced significant changes in muscle strength or muscle function, which did not differ significantly between healthy (n = 198), prediabetic (n = 20), and T2DM participants (n = 17). Changes in serum glucose during the intervention differed by group: only glucose improved significantly in the prediabetic group, glucose and triacylglycerol improved significantly in the healthy group, whereas no serum parameter improved significantly in the T2DM group.

Conclusions: A 12-week resistance exercise program improves muscle strength and muscle function to a similar extent in healthy, prediabetic, and T2DM elderly people. However, according to our data, T2DM participants do not experience favorable changes in fasting glucose or HbA(1C).

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01074879.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Composition
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Iceland
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Prediabetic State / diagnosis
  • Prediabetic State / therapy*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Reference Values
  • Resistance Training / organization & administration*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Glucose

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01074879