A home-based resistance exercise program demonstrates no association with lower hemoglobin (Hb)A1c levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), but the regimen can improve muscle mass and strength and reduce liver fat, according to a study published in Diabetes Metabolism Research and Reviews

Researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial between August 2019 and June 2021 that included participants with T2DM (age, 60.2 years; 38% women) who consistently used antidiabetic medication within the last 3 months, had a body mass index less than 45 kg/m2, and had blood pressure less than 160/100 mm Hg. The research team randomly assigned participants to usual care (n=56) or usual care plus a home-based resistance exercise program (n=64) for 32 weeks.

All participants maintained normal diet and activity habits. Individuals participating in the home-based exercise program performed exercises 3 times per week for 6 months — the first 3 of which were supervised. Exercise intensity increased during the study duration and was modified according to individual skill level. Investigators compared changes in HbA1c, body composition, physical function, quality of life, continuous glucose monitoring and liver fat between the 2 study arms at the 32-week study conclusion.

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The home-based resistance exercise intervention did not affect HbA1c levels (difference in difference: −0.4 mmol/mol; 95% CI, −3.26-2.47; P= 0.78), the report shows. However, individuals in the exercise group did experience an increase in push-up capacity (3.6 push‐ups; 95% CI, 0.8-6.4), lean arm mass (116 g; 95% CI, 6-227), and lean leg mass (438 g; 95% CI, 65-810). Liver fat also decreased among patients undergoing the intervention (−1.27%; 95% CI, −2.17 to −0.38).

Study limitations include a high loss to follow up and diet and physical activity level changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have increased variability in the study results.

The study authors acknowledge the inability of the home-based resistance exercise intervention to affect HbA1c levels, but suggest, “the current pragmatic intervention may be a useful intervention for ectopic liver fat accumulation and [nonalcoholic fatty liver disease] prevention and treatment, which frequently and negatively affect people with type 2 diabetes …”


Al Ozairi E, Alsaeed D, Al Roudhan D, et al. The effect of home‐based resistance exercise training in people with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trialDiabetes Metab Res Rev. Published online June 17, 2023. doi:10.1002/dmrr.3677

This article originally appeared on Endocrinology Advisor