A recent study published in theArchives of Internal Medicineshowed those with diabetes can prolong their lives by increasing their level of physical activity. Another study from the same medical journal found that resistance training alone may help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
These findings concur with other previous results. In fact, previous studies by the University of Calgary and the University of Ottawa, both in Canada, found that patients who did both aerobic and strength training showed better blood sugar control than those that did either just the strength training or aerobic exercise. The reduction in the hemoglobin A1C in the group that did both types of exercise was reduced by nearly twice as much as those that only did the individual types of exercise.
But the researchers do cite that men may benefit from weight training alone. This study looked at over 32 thousand males and found that weight training alone was enough to help prevent acquiring type 2 diabetes for some men. Researchers theorize the increase in muscle mass improves the body’s reaction to insulin. Says lead study author, Anders Grontved,
"Until now, previous studies have reported that aerobic exercise is of major importance for type 2 diabetes prevention, 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,"
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Small Pain, Big Gain
For men at least, according to this study weight training alone may have a positive impact on diabetes risk, and it may take as little as an hour a week.
Those that did strength training about 1 hour per week realized a 12 percent reduction in diabetes risk. Those that committed between 1 and 2 ½ hours of weight training a week realized a 25 percent reduction in risk. Those that spent more than 2 ½ hours per week strength training were found to be 34 percent less likely to acquire type 2 diabetes.
Still, the ultimate findings agree with previous studies. A combination of both strength training and aerobic exercise reap the most benefit. The men who did 2 ½ hours of each type realized almost a 60 percent drop in their diabetes risk.