A large study shows women adding strength or resistance training to their workout routine can significantly lower their diabetes risk more than aerobic exercise alone.
To prevent issues like type 2 diabetes, experts recommend staying at a healthy weight by eating well and exercising aerobically for over 2 hours weekly through a favorite activity – like walking, dancing, or cycling. Now, a large study shows women adding strength or resistance training can significantly lower their diabetes risk further.
The Harvard School of Public Health analyzed the health and exercise records of nearly 100,000 female American nurses in their 30s through 50s over a 5 year period. A few years later in 2009, they noted if any had developed type 2 diabetes.
Performing muscle-building activities like weights, push-ups, or yoga for at least 60 minutes weekly, on top of the recommended 150 minutes weekly of aerobic exercise, lowered diabetes risk by about 33 percent. Even women who didn’t exercise aerobically at all, but worked out muscles for the minimum 60 minutes weekly, still lowered their risk by 14 percent. As the amount of muscle-building time increased to 150 minutes weekly, their risk dropped 40 percent.
While researchers admit the study has shortcomings like most participants being Caucasian and self-reporting, the findings compare favorably with previous similar research for men.
Though researchers could not say specifically, more lean muscle mass seems to play a role in how the body responds to insulin resistance and regulates blood sugar.