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Weightlifting and Aerobics Can Cut Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Update Date: Aug 07, 2012 07:09 AM EDT

A research claims that lifting weights could significantly cut down the risk of type 2 diabetes, and the results are even better if weight lifting is accompanied by aerobics.

According to a study by researchers from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, America and the University of Southern Denmark, pumping weights five times a week can cut down the risk of type 2 diabetes by one-third. If combined with aerobics, it can result in a reduced risk of 60 percent.

The authors said that even small amounts of weight lifting made a difference on patients with type 2 diabetes, especially for those who could not cope with aerobic exercise. However, a combination of weight lifting and aerobics gave the best results.

Type 2 diabetes, which constitutes up to 90 percent of diabetes cases, is largely associated with obesity and with an increased risk of heart attack.

For the study, researchers followed 32,000 men for 18 years and found that people who did aerobics and those who did weight lifting, both groups reduced their risk of diabetes. However, greater benefits were seen in those who did both.

"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," 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 was quoted as saying by Telegraph.

During the study, once in every two years, the participants filled questionnaires that quizzed them about questions pertaining to their lifestyle, television viewing habits, alcohol consumption, etc.

The findings revealed that men who lifted weights for up to one hour a week reduced their risk of diabetes by 12 percent when compared to those who did not lift weights at all.

Those who completed between one and two and a half hours had a reduced risk of 25 percent and those who weight-lifted for at least 150 minutes reduced their risk by one-third.

In case of aerobic exercise, the risk was found to be reduced by 7 percent, 31 percent and 52 percent respectively.

Further, it was found that, men who did both- aerobics and weight lifting for a minimum of 150 minutes each week reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 59 percent when compared to those who did nothing.

"This study provides clear evidence that weight training has beneficial effects on diabetes risk over and above aerobic exercise, which are likely to be mediated through increased muscle mass and improved insulin sensitivity. To achieve the best results for diabetes prevention, resistance training can be incorporated with aerobic exercise," senior author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health said, according to Telegraph.

The findings were published online in Archives of Internal Medicine.

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