Switching up your weekly workouts doesn’t just lead to a better physique—it also protects against disease. Lifting weights and engaging in aerobic activity for a total of 300 minutes a week total (that’s an hour of exercise five days per week) can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 59 percent, according to a new study from Harvard University.
Researchers observed more than 32,000 men from 1990 to 2008. Every two years, participants reported their physical activity, which ranged from running and biking to tennis, swimming, and stair climbing. At the end of the study period, those who had engaged in both weight training and aerobic exercise had a lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared to men who did only one type of exercise.
Why? The combination of cardio and strength training delivers a long-lasting one-two punch that keeps blood sugar low and reduces insulin dependency. “Weight training improves muscle strength and lean body mass, which leads to improved insulin sensitivity, and aerobic exercises improves cardiorespiratory fitness and insulin sensitivity,” says study author Frank Hu, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health.
- Weight training may reduce risk of Type 2 diabetes (cbc.ca)
- Weight training associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (medicalxpress.com)
- Pumping Iron Cuts Diabetes Risk (abcnews.go.com)
- Weight training associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (eurekalert.org)
- Weight training associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes in study of men (eurekalert.org)
- Weight Training May Help Lower Diabetes Risk in Men – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Type 2 Diabetes Risk Drops With Weight Training Exercise – ABC News (drugstoresource.wordpress.com)
- How Exercise Improves Heart Function In Diabetics: Study (medicalnewstoday.com)