Evidence has shown that aerobic exercise can help prevent diabetes. New research shows that weightlifting, resistance exercises, and other muscle building exercises reduce women’s risk of diabetes.
A team of researchers from the institutions, Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Southern Denmark analyzed data from nearly 100,000 United States middle-aged to older nurses from the studies Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Health Study II for eight years. All of the women were free from cancer, diabetes, and heart disease at the start of the study. Researchers tracked their development of diabetes, as well as the types of self-reported exercises they did (resistance, lower intensity muscular conditioning, aerobic exercise, and vigorous activity).
By the end of the study, 3,491 women developed type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that women who engaged the most in resistance training and lower intensity muscular conditioning had the lowest risk of developing diabetes. More specifically, women who did at least 150 minutes per week of aerobic exercise and at least 60 minutes per week of muscle-strengthening exercises, compared to women with sedentary lifestyles, had a lower risk of developing diabetes.
The authors state, “The findings of our study… suggest that incorporating muscle-strengthening and conditioning activities with aerobic activity, according to the current recommendation for physical activity provides substantial benefit for [diabetes] prevention in women.”
This study is published in the journal PLOS Medicine.