Physical therapist-directed exercise counseling combined with fitness center-based exercise training can improve muscular strength and exercise capacity in people with type 2 diabetes, with outcomes similar to those of supervised exercise, according to a randomized clinical trial published in the September issue of Physical Therapy, the scientific journal of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

Type 2 diabetes is associated with numerous health complications, including a decline in muscular strength and exercise capacity. Studies show that a decline in muscular strength increases the risk of loss of physical function and that a decline in exercise capacity increases the risk of cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. "Improving muscular strength and exercise capacity in people with type 2 diabetes is crucial to preventing loss of physical function and decreasing comorbidity and mortality in these patients," said lead researcher J. David Taylor, PT, PhD, CSCS, assistant professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Central Arkansas.

Supervised exercise programs improve both muscular strength and exercise capacity in people with type 2 diabetes; however, Medicare and other health insurance programs do not currently reimburse physical therapists and other clinicians for these exercise programs.

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