Background: Exercise training is vital for glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes
mellitus (T2D). While the positive effects of supervised exercise training are well established,
unsupervised training may offer an alternative and more sustainable means of realising the benefits of
exercise away from a resource-heavy supervised setting.
Objective: To evaluate the available literature and compare the efficacy of supervised and unsupervised
exercise training programs on glycemic control in patients with T2D.
Methods: CINAHL, MEDLINE, PubMed, and EMBASE, searched from inception to 20 July 2018. Only
studies that included both supervised and unsupervised training were included.
Results: Four studies, involving 115 participants, were included. One compared supervised with unsupervised
exercise training and three investigated the efficacy of unsupervised training following supervised
training. While supervised training is effective for improving glycaemic control in patients with
T2D, unsupervised training may not maintain these changes. Included studies lacked detail relating to
the supervised and unsupervised training programs.
Conclusions: Given that exercise is a critical component for maintenance of glycaemic control in patients
with T2D, and because unsupervised training has been shown to be effective in improving clinical
outcomes in other disease populations, further research is warranted to compare supervised and unsupervised
exercise training in patients with T2D. It is important that future studies report standardised
and detailed descriptions of key elements that form the basis of supervised and unsupervised exercise