Half an hour of strength training per day, or three 50-minute sessions a week. That’s the amount of strength training that reduces your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by a third. And if you do a bit of cycling, walking, swimming or running as well your chance of developing diabetes can go down by sixty percent, researchers at the University of Harvard discovered. They published their study in 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
The researchers used data on 32,002 men who had been monitored in the period 1990-2008 in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. The researchers had data on the men’s lifestyle and knew about the amount of exercise they got. They then looked at which men developed type 2 diabetes, and which men did not.
Strength training protected against type 2 diabetes, as did aerobic exercise.
The participants who did at least 150 minutes of strength training each week were 29 percent less likely to develop diabetes than the participants who did no strength training. The participants who did at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week were 39 percent less likely to develop diabetes than the participants who did no aerobic exercise.
Health experts say we should get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week. In other words: 150 minutes of brisk walking every week. Among the participants who managed this and also did strength training, the chance of developing diabetes was 59 percent lower – that’s a reduction of over half.
Related Article: How Strength Training Promotes Health and Longevity
“Until now, previous studies have reported that aerobic exercise is of major importance for type 2 diabetes prevention,” said author Anders GrÃ¸ntved in a press release about the study. [harvard.edu August 6, 2012] “But many people have difficulty engaging in or adhering to aerobic exercise. These new results suggest that weight training, to a large extent, can serve as an alternative to aerobic exercise for type 2 diabetes prevention.”
“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,” added research leader Frank Hu. “To achieve the best results for diabetes prevention, resistance training can be incorporated with aerobic exercise.”
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