Changes in insulin sensitivity

Mann S, Beedie C, Balducci S, Zanuso S, Allgrove J, Bertiato F, Jimenez A.

Type 2 diabetes is an increasingly prevalent condition with complications including blindness and kidney failure. Evidence suggests that type 2 diabetes is associated with a sedentary lifestyle, with physical activity demonstrated to increase glucose uptake and improve glycaemic control. Proposed mechanisms for these effects include the maintenance and improvement of insulin sensitivity via increased glucose transporter type four production. The optimal mode, frequency, intensity and duration of exercise for the improvement of insulin sensitivity are however yet to be identified. We review the evidence from 34 published studies addressing the effects on glycaemic control and insulin sensitivity of aerobic exercise, resistance training and both combined. Effect sizes and confidence intervals are reported for each intervention and meta-analysis presented. The quality of the evidence is tentatively graded, and recommendations for best practice proposed.