Exercise is a primary intervention to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Metabolic Syndrome, or “Pre-diabetes” is a syndrome associated with the simultaneous presence of three conditions: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and blood lipids, and obesity. Individuals with metabolic syndrome are at a greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is characterized by a resistance to insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. Pre-diabetes exercise programs have been shown to reduce the risk of developing diabetes in persons with metabolic syndrome. Recently, Australian researchers compared 2 methods of resistive exercise in patients at risk for developing diabetes. One group of patients completed a gym-based exercise program with weight machines, (45 minutes at high-intensity with 8 machine-based stations at a Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)of 3 to 6 out of 10) while the other performed similar home-based exercises using body weight, hand-held weights, Thera-Band® Resistance Bands, and exercise balls.
- Week 1-6: Body-weight and hand-held weights
- Week 7-12: increased Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) to 4/10
- Week 13-18: Added Thera-Band Resistance Bands and exercise ball; progressed resistance when RPE was below 5
All patients received information on diabetes self-management as well. Both groups exercised for 18 weeks with progressive increases in intensity, followed by a 34-week maintenance program. After the intervention, both groups significantly reduced their risk factors for developing diabetes. Both exercise programs also helped patients lose weight, averaging a 4 kg loss. There was no significant difference in outcome between the gym-based group and the group using Thera-Band Resistance Bands, other than a higher drop in systolic blood pressure in the gym-based group. The findings of this study complement another study (Colado and Triplett 2008), which found similar improvements in middle-aged women performing either weight machine training or Thera-Band exercises. Both studies confirm that elastic resistance is as effective as more expensive and space-consuming weight machines. In addition, Thera-Band exercises may be a more cost-effective intervention to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.