Men who do weight training regularly (for 30 minutes per day, five days per week) may be able to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 34%, according to a new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and University of Southern Denmark researchers. And if they combine weight training and aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or running, they may be able to reduce their risk even further – up to 59%.
This is the first study to examine the role of weight training in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. The results suggest that, because weight training appears to confer significant benefits independent of aerobic exercise, it can be a valuable alternative for people who have difficulty with the latter.
The study was published online in Archives of Internal Medicine.
“Until now, previous studies have reported that aerobic exercise is of major importance for type 2 diabetes prevention,” said lead author Anders Grøntved, visiting researcher in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH and a doctoral student in exercise epidemiology at the University of Southern Denmark. “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.”
Type 2 diabetes is a major public health concern and it’s on the rise. An estimated 346 million people worldwide have type 2 diabetes, and diabetes-related deaths are expected to double between 2005 and 2030, according to the World Health Organization. More than 80% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
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