Influence of a six-month strengthening programme on HbA1c, cholesterol and triglycerides in type II diabetics: A pilot study


  • Helmut Wenzel
  • Edgar Unger



Aim: To assess the feasibility and effectiveness of resistance training on glycaemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes, the additional risk factors including low physical activity, measured by HbA1c, body weight, cholesterol and triglycerides.

Methods: We conducted a pilot study as a pre-and-post study with no control group. Participants had to meet the following inclusion criteria: type 2 diabetic person, 45-75 years old, duration of diabetes <10 years, no experience with resistance training within the last ten years, willingness to attend regularly the training sessions (two training units per week, with 45 mi­nutes of duration each). Furthermore, a certificate from the treating physician (diabetologist) was requested, testifying that there were no medical reasons against participation. Patients with severe accompanying diseases, high blood pressure, heart failure (NYHA III), or retinopathy were excluded. Eighteen persons (10 men, 8 women), aged 46-71 years could be included. Due to dropouts, the pre-post-evaluation was based on 13 individuals only. Mean age of this group (6 men, 7 women) was 63.6±5.5 years. Mean body mass index at the beginning was 29.8±4.9. Mean HbA1c was 7.5%±0.6%; the triglycerides were in the range between 134 mg/dl and 335 mg/dl with an average value of 195.8±50.9 mg/dl. Cholesterol level was between 149 mg/dl and 262 mg/dl, which corresponded to an average of 206.6±34.8 mg/dl. The training took place in a fitness centre under the supervision of a certified sports scientist between April 2010 and October 2010 for 28 weeks.  During the training period, the patients were asked to report whether they changed their level of general physical activity during this period, as a potential confounder. Possible treatment adaptations had to be recorded.

Results: At the end of the study, the average HbA1c dropped from 7.5%±0.6% to 7.1%±0.8%.  Mean cholesterol level dropped from 206.6±34.8 mg/dl to 191.3± 30.85 mg/dl. Mean triglycerides were lowered from 195.8±50.9 mg/dl to 144±30 mg/dl. These changes were all statistically significant (P<0.05). The dose-response curve was not significant, probably due to the small number of participants.

Conclusions: There is now suggestive evidence supporting the use of resistance training for improving glycaemic control and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes. However, this has not been perceived clearly enough to date. It is also not in the focus of economic evaluations of diabetes preventing strategies. Activating diabetic patients to perform resistance training is an effective and efficient way to reduce the burden of diabetes and, even more, to prevent this disease.





How to Cite

Wenzel, H., & Unger, E. (2023). Influence of a six-month strengthening programme on HbA1c, cholesterol and triglycerides in type II diabetics: A pilot study. South Eastern European Journal of Public Health.



Original Research