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
The six-month exercise program ended with a 12-day trekking expedition,
according to the study published online in the journal Radiology.
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
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
"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
Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.