n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Effect mechanisms of physical activity on the improvement of insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism in type 2 diabetes mellitus - reverse mechanism approach : a review and physical activity - : health and physical activity

Volume 21 Number 1.1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Diabetes mellitus type 2 is increasingly becoming a global health burden, constituting 85 to 95% of all diabetes cases among the high economic countries and, may be even higher in low and middle income populations. Its morbidity is associated with cultural and social changes, aging, dietary changes, sedentary lifestyle and behavioural patterns. Although some studies have described the benefits of physical activity as a cost-effective treatment for type 2 diabetes mellitus and insulin resistance, the actual mechanisms have not been co-ordinated systematically.The aim of this review was to attempt, from literature study, a stepwise presentation of how physical activity improves insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Original articles were targeted. Various words combination was used to search for articles of relevance. Science Direct, Google Scholar, PubMed, NIH Public Access, Medline, Medscape and PMC were sites used to search for the articles and related papers.Seventy (70) articles and papers were retrieved and 53 were found relevant. Research facts were analysed and synthesized, personal views and comments were made. Insulin-independent contractile mechanism, decrease in adiposity and raised adiponectin level, GLUT-4 glucose transporter, reversal of insulin resistance and increased muscle tissue sensitivity are the mechanisms through which physical activity improves insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, with improved muscle glucose uptake for energy generation, followed by decreased glucose level in blood. Physical activity operates through both insulin-dependent and insulin-independent mechanisms to improve glucose metabolism in type 2 DM. Physical activity reverses insulin resistance mechanism. Improvement of insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism in type 2 DM is largely dependent on decreasing adiposity and increased adiponectin activity. Physical activity is valuable for general wellness, treatment for metabolic disorders and prevention of their complications in advance.

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