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PURPOSE: To investigate the effects of 8 weeks of upright water-based exercise training in people with type 2 diabetes.
METHODS: Thirteen participants with type 2 diabetes (54% male; 60.9 ± 9.6 years, mean ± standard deviation) completed eight weeks of upright water-based exercise training at a moderate intensity (60-80% of exercise test-derived maximum heart rate), for one hour, three times a week (TG). Fourteen participants (64% male; 63.9 ± 9.8 years) acted as a control group (CG) who maintained their usual activities. Pre- and post-intervention, participants performed cardiopulmonary exercise testing to determine VO2peak and one-repetition maximum testing to assess muscular strength. Blood profiles were assessed with standard assays. Body mass index and waist:hip ratio were employed as measures of anthropometry. Endothelium dependent (brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD)) and independent (GTN mediated) function were assessed using vascular ultrasound.
RESULTS: Water-based training increased VO2peak (18.5 ± 4.3 to 21.5 ± 5.4 ml.kg-1.min-1) (p=0.002), overall muscle strength (123 ± 44 to 139 ± 43kg) and leg strength (92 ± 28 to 104 ± 29kg), compared with the CG (p=0.001). The effect on pectoral strength (31 ± 17 to 35 ± 16kg) was not significantly different to the CG (24 ± 12 to 26 ± 14kg) (p=0.08). No change was observed in anthropometry, blood profiles, or GTN mediated vascular function. FMD was increased following training (6.1 ± 2.4 to 6.5 ± 3.0%), compared with controls who demonstrated a slight decrease (6.2 ± 1.6 to 5.4 ± 1.6%) (p=0.002).
CONCLUSION: Water-based circuit training was well tolerated and appears to be an effective exercise modality for improving aerobic fitness, strength and vascular function in people with type 2 diabetes.