A new study has revealed that the best exercise for diabetics is a combination of aerobics and weight training.
The study in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that a workout which involves both types of exercise gives the best results in lowering blood sugar and also aids weight loss, compared to just completing one exercise alone.
Aerobics uses more blood sugar to fuel the muscles, burning more sugar, while weight training increases muscle. A combination of both workouts alters muscle protein to benefit the process.
Lead author Dr Tim Church of Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said: "It's clear that doing both aerobic and strength training is superior to either alone. It's almost like taking two different drugs."
The study was carried out over a nine-month period, with participants working out three times a week for about 45 minutes each session.
"People can manage this amount of exercise," said Laurie Goodyear of Joslin Diabetes Centre in Boston, Massachusetts, who was not involved in the study but does similar research. "They didn't have to go on a diet. This was purely an exercise effect."
The study concluded that only the team which combined aerobics and weights were successful in lowering their blood sugar and reducing their weight.
The researchers' goal was to test three exercise programmes that doctors could realistically recommend and patients could stick with. All three groups did have a smaller waist size after the study.
They compared aerobics alone, weight training alone and a combination.
Fewer patients in the combo group started taking new diabetes drugs than in the other groups. Decisions on medications were left up to the patients' regular doctors during the study.