Carried out by a team of Chinese and US researchers, led by The First Affiliated Hospital of Guangxi Medical University, the new study looked at 137 Chinese participants between 55 to 75 years old who all had prediabetes.
Participants were split into four groups, including anaerobic training group, a resistance training group, anaerobic training plus resistance training group, and a control group.
The groups who exercised were asked to follow a supervised exercise programme for 60 minutes per day, three non-consecutive days per week, for 24 months.
The findings, published in the journal Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews, showed that the rate of type 2 diabetes decreased by 74% for those who did both aerobic training and resistance training, by 65% for those who did resistance training, and by 72% for those did aerobic training, compared with the control group.
Blood glucose and lipid profiles, including total cholesterol levels, also improved more for the participants in the three exercise groups than in the control group.
The researchers said that the findings help show the benefits of exercise, especially resistance training, for preventing type 2 diabetes.
“This study showed that resistance training and resistance training plus aerobic training were as effective as isolated AT in preventing overt type 2 diabetes in patients with prediabetes,” the authors wrote.
“We showed that RT is a viable option for patients seeking to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
This finding further expands established paradigms of a lifestyle change for preventing type 2 diabetes and can inform clinician-patient discussions about delaying disease onset.”