-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, June 25 (HealthDay News) -- Exercise benefits people
with type 2 diabetes even if they don't make any other lifestyle or
diet changes, a new study says.
Dutch researchers conducted MRI exams of 12 patients with
diabetes before and after they did six months of moderate-intensity
exercise. Each week, the participants, who were an average age of
46, exercised between three and a half and six hours a week during
two endurance and two resistance training sessions.
The six-month exercise program ended with a 12-day trekking
expedition, according to the study published online in the journal
There were no changes in the participants' heart function at the
end of the exercise program. But they did have significant
decreases in the amount of fat in the abdomen, liver and around the
heart, all of which have been shown to be associated with increased
risk of heart disease.
"In the present study, we observed that the second layer of fat around the heart -- the pericardial fat -- behaved similarly in response to exercise training as intra-abdominal, or visceral fat. The fat content in the liver also decreased substantially after exercise," study senior author Dr. Hildo Lamb, of the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, said in a journal news release.
He said these exercise-related fat reductions in the liver are
particularly important to people with type 2 diabetes, many of whom
are overweight or obese.
"The liver plays a central role in regulating total body fat distribution," Lamb said. "Therefore, reduction of liver fat content and visceral fat volume by physical exercise are very important to reverse the adverse effects of lipid accumulation elsewhere, such as the heart and arterial vessel wall."
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
diabetes and exercise.
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