Type 2 diabetes mellitus, physical activity, yoga and telomere length: A literature review

Reepa A. Ughreja, Reena A. Ughreja
Journal of Metabolic Health | Journal of Insulin Resistance: Vol 4, No 1, | a52 | DOI: | © 2019 Reepa A. Ughreja, Reena A. Ughreja | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 June 2019 | Published: 10 September 2019

About the author(s)

Reepa A. Ughreja, Department of Physiotherapy, Manipal College of Health Professions, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE), India
Reena A. Ughreja, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Saurashtra University, Rajkot, India


Background: Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), a chronic metabolic disease prevalent in adults, is also prevalent amongst children, adolescents and young adults. On understanding the molecular basis of diabetes, a significant association is found between telomere length (TL) and type 2 DM.

Aim: The aim of the study was to review the available evidence on effect of physical activity and yoga on DM including their effect on TL.

Setting: The study was conducted in Bangalore.

Method: A number of databases such as Google Scholar, PubMed and Cochrane Review were searched for relevant articles using keywords such as ’diabetes’, ‘type 2 DM’, ‘physical activity’, ‘yoga’, ‘TL’ and ‘telomerase activity’. All types of articles were included for the study, such as randomised controlled trial, systematic reviews, literature review and pilot study. Non-English articles were excluded from the study.

Results: Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of yoga and physical exercise in type 2 DM in various ways, such as reducing fasting blood glucose and glycosylated haemoglobin; improving lipid profile, blood pressure and waist-to-hip ratio; reducing inflammatory, oxidative and psychological stress markers; and improving the quality of life of patients. However, limited information is available on the effect of these interventions on TL in type 2 DM and mechanisms involved.

Conclusion: Recent studies have shown positive effects of yoga and physical activity on TL. However, there is a dearth of good-quality studies evaluating the effects of yoga on TL in type 2 DM. Future studies need to be conducted with standard treatment protocols, long-term follow-up, appropriate control groups and large sample size.


Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus; Yoga; Physical Activity; Telomere Length; Quality of Life


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