A new study provided insight into what type of exercise is most beneficial for diabetic wound healing.

Even a mild cut in the skin of a diabetic patient can turn into a serious wound. Clinicians offer several prevention methods to stop wounds from becoming chronic, reduce pain and avoid high treatment costs, such as protective shoes, healthy diet and regular exercise. Researchers continue to study the nuances of preventative and treatment methods to develop more comprehensive, effective solutions. The results from a recent study, published in Wounds, provided insight into what type of exercise is most beneficial for wound healing in diabetic patients.

Benefits of physical activity

In 2016, the American Diabetes Association released a statement clarifying the benefits of regular exercise for people with diabetes and prediabetes, with recommendations to avoid prolonged amounts of sedentary behavior, and make it a goal to exercise daily. Regular physical activity can lower blood pressure and glucose, boost energy levels and improve balance to prevent potential injury from falls.

Previous research found exercising can help diabetic wounds heal, but didn’t specify how type or intensity can affect healing. Plus, many studies and reviews found multidisciplinary approaches to be most effective in diabetic wound care treatment. In an article published in the World Journal of Experimental Medicine, the researchers concluded that standard treatments for diabetic foot wounds can be more effective when combined with physical therapy and rehabilitation efforts.

Low-intensity is better for healing

The researchers studied diabetic mice and found that those who completed low-intensity exercise healed about 10 days faster than those who did not exercise. The mice that completed high-intensity workouts, didn’t heal any faster than the sedentary mice.

The researchers believed higher-intensity workouts can cause stress that doesn’t help wounds heal. Alternatively, light exercises decrease blood glucose and increase insulin sensitivity to help with faster healing. These types of exercises include walking, swimming, biking, step aerobics or yoga. Patients should feel their heart rate rise, while still being able to easily have a conversation with someone. The researchers advised health care professionals to recommend these low-intensity exercises as part of wound healing regimens in diabetic patients.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.