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J Exerc Sci Fit. 2020 Jan;18(1):7-13. doi: 10.1016/j.jesf.2019.08.003. Epub 2019 Aug 20.

Aerobic exercise training at maximal fat oxidation intensity improves body composition, glycemic control, and physical capacity in older people with type 2 diabetes.

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Tianjin Physical Fitness Research Center, Department of Health and Exercise Science, Tianjin University of Sport, China.
Faculty of Health, Engineering, and Sciences, University of Southern Queensland, Australia.



Aerobic training has been used as one of the common treatments for type 2 diabetes; however, further research on the individualized exercise program with the optimal intensity is still necessary. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of supervised exercise training at the maximal fat oxidation (FATmax) intensity on body composition, glycemic control, lipid profile, and physical capacity in older people with type 2 diabetes.


Twenty-four women and 25 men with type 2 diabetes, aged 60-69 years. The exercise groups trained at the individualized FATmax intensity for 1 h/day for 3 days/week over 16 weeks. No dietary intervention was introduced during the experimental period. Whole body fat, abdominal fat, oral glucose tolerance test, lipid profile, and physical capacity were measured before and after the interventions.


FATmax intensity was at 41.3 ± 3.2% VO2max for women and 46.1 ± 10.3% VO2max for men. Exercise groups obtained significant improvements in body composition, with a special decrease in abdominal obesity; decreased resting blood glucose concentration and HbA1c; and increased VO2max, walking ability, and lower body strength, compared to the non-exercising controls. Daily energy intake and medication remained unchanged for all participants during the experimental period.


Beside the improvements in the laboratory variables, the individualized FATmax training can also benefit daily physical capacity of older people with type 2 diabetes.


Exercise training; Maximal fat oxidation rate; Older people; Physical capacity; Type 2 diabetes

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