Skeletal Muscle and Metabolic Health: How Do We Increase Muscle Mass and Function in People with Type 2 Diabetes?
Whilst skeletal muscles’ primary role is allowing movement, it has important metabolic roles, including in glycemic control. Indeed, evidence indicates that low muscle mass and function are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, highlighting its importance in the development of metabolic disease.In this mini-review, we detail the evidence highlighting the importance of muscle in type 2 diabetes and the efficacy of resistance exercise in improving glycemic control alongside our approach to increase uptake of such exercise in people with type 2 diabetes. This summary is based in the authors’ knowledge of the filed supplemented by a Pubmed search using the terms “muscle,” “glycemic control,” “HbA1c,” “type 2 diabetes,” and “resistance exercise.”The main strategy to increases muscle mass is to perform resistance exercise and, although the quality of evidence is low, such exercise appears effective in reducing Glycated Haemoglobin (HbA1c) in people with type 2 diabetes. However, to increase participation we need to improve our understanding of barriers and facilitators to such exercise. Current data indicate that barriers are similar to those reported for aerobic exercise, with additional resistance exercise specific barriers of looking to muscular, increase risk of cardiovascular event, having access to specialized equipment and knowledge of how to use it.The development of simple resistance exercises that can be performed anywhere, that use little or no equipment and are effective in reducing HbA1c will be, in our opinion, key to increasing the number of people with type 2 diabetes performing resistance exercise.