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Weight Lifting Lowers Risk of Type II Diabetes

Posted on August 09 2012

With the rise of sedentary lifestyles, Type II diabetes has become a growing health problem in the U.S. Many are unaware of the damage being sedentary causes on the bodies, and the cost of healthcare needed to continue living that lifestyle. For many years, aerobic exercise has been one way to lower risks of getting Type II diabetes, and as a way to manage it. A new study now suggests that weight training can be just as effective in lowering this health risk.

The latest study, from the Harvard School of Public Medicine, indicates that 30 minutes per day of weight training can lower your risk of Type II diabetes by 34%. The subjects in the study included 32,000 men, followed over almost 2 decades. With popular exercise programs such as P90X, Insanity and the like, people have various opportunities to perform this kind of strength training. While some continue to prefer their workouts at the gym, this new programming offers people the ability to work out in their home and still achieve the same results as if they were at the gym.

There were also men in the study who participated in only aerobic exercise and saw a 52% lower risk than their sedentary counterparts. For men who participated in both weight training and aerobic exercise, the pay off was great. It yielded a 60% less risk for contracting Type II diabetes.

While the study shows that activity lowers the risk of Type II diabetes, there were men who still presented with it. Around 7% of the study participants still developed diabetes (about 2,240 patients in all). Even the study’s researchers were not surprised, as exercise only lowers the risk, it does not eliminate it.

Dr. Frank Hu, co-author of the study, was pleased with the results and found them to be encouraging for other physicians to properly treat their patients. Dr. Hu indicated that he could either spend time prescribing medications that will only control the diabetes and not benefit mortality, or he could prescribe a reasonable exercise regimen and, not only manage a patient’s diabetes, but also allow them to lead longer, healthier lives. He also suggested that other physicians stop suggesting patients do something that they like and start prescribing 30 minutes daily of a variety of exercises including brisk walking, running, and, of course, weight training.

While the outlook of this study is promising, more work must be done. It is presumed that if exercise and weight training has this effect on men, than the same must hold true for women. However, a study has yet to be done looking at the health benefits on women. In any case, it solidifies the notion that exercise, in any form, can lower a person’s risk of developing Type II diabetes, and helps to increase lifespan while living with the diagnosis, which is encouraging.

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