Impact of endurance and resistance training on skeletal muscle glucose metabolism in older adults

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© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Aging is associated with insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes. While this process is multifaceted, age-related changes to skeletal muscle are expected to contribute to impaired glucose metabolism. Some of these changes include sarcopenia, impaired insulin signaling, and imbalances in glucose utilization. Endurance and resistance exercise training have been endorsed as interventions to improve glucose tolerance and whole-body insulin sensitivity in the elderly. While both types of exercise generally increase insulin sensitivity in older adults, the metabolic pathways through which this occurs can differ and can be dependent on preexisting conditions including obesity and type 2 diabetes. In this review, we will first highlight age-related changes to skeletal muscle which can contribute to insulin resistance, followed by a comparison of endurance and resistance training adaptations to insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism in older adults.