Research shows resistance exercise helps prevent type 2 diabetes

Friday, January 17, 2014 by: Reuben Chow
Tags: type 2 diabetes, resistance training, exercise

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(NaturalNews) It has been previously established that aerobic exercise helps to lower one's risk of type 2 diabetes. Now, a recent population study carried out on a large group of women and published in PLOS Medicine has revealed that resistance or weight training could help decrease type 2 diabetes risk as well.

The study was carried out by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and the University of Southern Denmark and looked at over 99,000 middle-aged and older women for eight years. The study subjects had taken part in the Nurses' Health Study from 2000 to 2008 and the Nurses' Health Study II from 2001 to 2009.

At the start of the study, none of the women had diabetes, and the researchers looked at the relationship between their exercise habits and incidence of diabetes development. Specifically, they examined how much time the women spent every week carrying out different types of exercise - these included resistance exercise; lower intensity muscular conditioning exercises such as stretching, toning and yoga; as well as aerobic-type exercises.

Both resistance training and lower intensity muscular conditioning exercises were independently linked to reduced risk of diabetes. And they were even more effective when put together.

The researchers wrote: "The findings from our study... suggest that incorporating muscle-strengthening and conditioning activities with aerobic activity according to the current recommendation for physical activity provides substantial benefit for [diabetes] prevention in women."

And what were these recommended levels of exercise?

At least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week and at least twice per week of resistance training, which the researchers estimated to be at least 60 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercise per week. Ladies who met these exercise recommendations had the lowest risk of diabetes, but even those whose durations of these exercises were less than these levels experienced lower risk.

The team also wrote that "resistance exercise may decrease the risk of T2D (type 2 diabetes) through several mechanisms," while women who were overweight or obese enjoyed the highest risk reduction.

Men enjoy lower risk, too

Previous research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in August 2012 and conducted by researchers from the same institutions found that men who regularly trained with weights could lower their type 2 diabetes risk by up to 34 percent; regular training could be about 30 minutes each time, 5 times every week.

Similar to the recent study's findings, it was discovered that resistance training combined with aerobic activities like running or brisk walking brought even better results - an up to 59 percent decrease in risk.

That study was groundbreaking in looking at how weight or resistance training could help prevent type 2 diabetes. It is now clear both genders can benefit.

Importantly, because resistance training alone seems to offer notable type 2 diabetes risk reduction independent of aerobic exercise, those who have problems undertaking the latter have a viable and effective alternative.

Weight training or resistance exercise also helps diabetics

Going further back, research published in JAMA in November 2010 found that doing both aerobic and resistance exercises helped to improve glycemic levels among type 2 diabetes sufferers, and the improvement was better than for either exercise alone.

An accompanying editorial noted that "patients with type 2 diabetes who wish to maximize the effects of exercise on their glycemic control should perform both aerobic and resistance exercise." It added that "given a specific amount of time to invest in exercise, it is more beneficial to devote some time to each form of exercise rather than devoting all the time to just one form of exercise."

Sources for this article include:

Harvard School of Public Health (2012, August 6). Weight training linked to reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 17, 2014, from

About the author:
Reuben Chow has a keen interest in natural health and healing as well as personal growth.

Subscribe to his natural health newsletter or follow his health websites on Facebook.

His main health websites Insights on Health and All 4 Natural Health focus on being healthy naturally, while his other health websites cover topics such as cancer, depression, holistic depression help, as well as omega 3 fatty acids. He also owns self improvement and inspirational websites like Inspiration 4 Living,, Life Changing Quotes, and 101 Inspirational Ideas. Through his network of sites at The Journey of Life, he hopes to help improve people's lives.

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