Background and aims
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a rapidly growing public health issue. This systematic review aimed to narrate and qualitatively synthesize evidence and recommendations of physical activity/exercise for patients with T2DM.
The databases Medline through Pubmed, Cochrane, and Scopus were systematically searched from inception to February 08, 2020 using MeSH terms related to “diabetes mellitus” and “physical activity/exercise”. Studies were included if they reported on the roles of physical activity/exercise in managing patients with T2DM or effects of physical activity/exercise on glycemic control. Documents identified through the search were analyzed and evidence and recommendations were synthesized qualitatively.
Data were extracted from 16 original articles and 11 systematic reviews with meta-analyses. A qualitative summary of evidence included general items (n = 6) and recommendations for physical activity/exercise (n = 12). Physical activity/exercise can reduce incidence of T2DM, hyperinsulinemia, fasting plasma/blood glucose, HbA1c, body fats, cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate, cardiovascular risk, and dosage of antidiabetic medications. Physical activity/exercise can improve sensitivity to insulin, muscle strength, oxygen consumption, aerobic capacity, and mental health of patients with T2DM.
Despite the increasing interest in incorporating physical activity/exercise in the management of T2DM and improving healthcare delivery, there are still limited clear instructions and guidelines for both the patient and the healthcare provider.