It has long been thought that physical activity should be a part of the treatment regimen suggested for all non-insulin-dependent-diabetes mellitus patients. Though a correlation between physical fitness and mortality has long been postulated, no long-term data has existed to prove or disprove the hypothesis.
According to research in the mid-April issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, men who reported physical inactivity and performed poorly on a maximal exercise test experienced higher mortality rates.
The study followed 1263 men with type 2 diabetes who received thorough medical examinations between 1970 and 1993. Average age of the participants was 50 years. Men with uncontrolled diabetes were excluded from the trial.
By the conclusion of the study in 1994, 180 men had died. After taking into account co-existing risk factors, such as smoking and age, men with low physical fitness were two times more likely to have died than men considered physically fit.
The study demonstrates a relatively clear picture of the benefits of exercise for the type 2 diabetic. The study is limited for several reasons. The most notable of which is that the participants were all male, and more than 92% or them were cacausian.