Why Pumping Iron Could Help to Reduce your Risk of Diabetes

Regular sessions of muscle resistance training cuts the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes among men by more than 30%. Adding further aerobic exercise (“brisk” walking, swimming, rowing or running) will confer an even greater benefit of up to 60% reduced risk.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal analysed the lifestyles of 32,000 Americans taking part in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, including how much time they spent in the gym.

During the 18 year study, just over 2000 participants developed Type 2 diabetes. Findings showed that those men who spent more time performing weight resistance training,  lowered their risk of developing  Type 2 diabetes.

Performing this type of exercise for up to 60 minutes a week reduced their risk by 12%. A greater risk reduction (25%) was noted when increasing the exercise from 60 to 149 minutes once a week. The greatest reduction of 34% was obtained when men trained with weights  for 150 minutes or more every week.

Furthermore, researchers found by coupling 150 minutes of aerobics and 150 minutes of weight training per week could cut  Type 2 diabetes risk by 59%.

“This study provides clear evidence that weight training has beneficial effects on diabetes risk over and above aerobic exercise, which are likely to be mediated through increased muscle mass and improved insulin sensitivity,” said the study’s co author Professor Frank Hu, a nutrition expert from the Harvard School of Public Health.

“To achieve the best results for diabetes prevention, resistance training can be incorporated with aerobic exercise.”

Want to read more?

The ABC rule of exercise

This research article in full

If you would like to assess your risk of Type 2 diabetes, book a 7 Point Wellbeing Health Screen or would like us to support your workforce with lifestyle changes, please contact us.

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