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Critical Reviews™ in Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Health-Related Physical Fitness of People with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Mahatma Gandhi Mission School of Physiotherapy, MGM Institute of Health Sciences, Sector No.1, Plot No. 1 & 2, Kamothe, Navi Mumbai–410209, India Navi Mumbai, India
Department of Physiotherapy, Mahatma Gandhi Mission School of Physiotherapy, MGM Institute
of Health Sciences, Sector No.1, Plot No. 1 & 2, Kamothe, Navi Mumbai–410209, India
Physiotherapist, Physiosafe Training & Consulting Pvt. Ltd, Melbourne, Australia
Prof-Director, MGM Institute's University Department of Physiotherapy, MGM Institute of Health Sciences
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is rapidly emerging as a potential epidemic, with more than 422 million adults living with diabetes. Over the last few decades, prevalence of DM has increased largely in low- to middle-income countries due to a rise in associated risk factors like obesity, overweight, physical inactivity, and poor health-related physical fitness. Reduced myocardial perfusion, decreased microcirculation, skeletal muscle atrophy, and peripheral neuropathy caused by DM exert negative influence on all domains of physical fitness, such as muscle flexibility, strength, endurance, balance, and cardiopulmonary endurance. Existing literature reveals a focus on unidimensional aspects of fitness, such as reduction in cardiorespiratory
endurance and muscle strength; however, influence on other equally important fitness components remains unexplored. Lack of comprehensive review motivated the present study, which explored the level of physical fitness among adults with DM in comparison to healthy age-gender matched controls. A significant reduction in cardiorespiratory endurance (43%, p < 0 .001), muscle flexibility (13%, p < 0.01), muscle strength (11%, p < 0.05), muscle endurance (8%, p < 0.001), and balance (30%, p < 0.001) was observed in people with DM compared to healthy adults. Findings suggest a strong need to increase awareness about the benefits of physical activity, regular fitness assessment, and training. Comprehensive rehabilitation programs emphasizing all dimensions of fitness need to be advocated for people with type 2 diabetes by integrating regular physical fitness evaluation and training programs designed to improve cardiovascular endurance and balance in routine clinical practice.
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