Doctors routinely recommend regular aerobic exercise to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. But for those who prefer resistance training to running on a treadmill, a new study shows that weight training can protect against diabetes as well.
The researchers found that doing at least two and a half hours a week of either aerobic exercise or weight training substantially lowered the risk of Type 2 diabetes. But more than anything else the study provided an endorsement for doing both. Those who combined weights with cardio had the greatest reduction in risk compared with their non-exercising peers. The study subjects were men, but the researchers believe the results apply to women as well.
“We found that in the group that did fairly large amounts of both, there was about a 60 percent reduced risk of diabetes, which is huge,” said Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and an author of the study. “It’s clear that the best thing is to get a combination of the two. But some people really can’t get aerobic exercise in their life, and we found that even a small amount of resistance exercise can make a difference.”