08/06/2012 05:05 EDT | Updated 10/06/2012 05:12 EDT

Weight Training May Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes


Weight training may be able to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

In a study done by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), men who weight trained at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week were shown to have reduced their risk of Type 2 diabetes by up to 34 per cent.

A healthy diet low in fat and sugar as well as exercise have long since been recommended as the keys to trying to prevent Type 2 diabetes.

Anders Grøntved, lead author of the study and visiting researcher in the Department of Nutrition at HSPH, said these new findings are good for those who cannot, for whatever reason, stay with an aerobic exercise regime specifically.

“Many people have difficulty engaging in or adhering to aerobic exercise,” Grantved said in a release. “These new results suggest that weight training, to a large extent, can serve as an alternative to aerobic exercise for Type 2 diabetes prevention.”

Although the study found that the risk was reduced independent of aerobic exercise, weight training combined with aerobic exercise showed a greater benefit — reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes up to 59 per cent.

“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,” said Frank Hu, senior author of the study and professor of nutrition and epidemiology at HSPH.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that interferes with the body's ability properly use, or even produce, insulin — an essential hormone.

Type 2 diabetes happens when the pancreas does not make enough insulin or makes it but is unable to use it correctly.

An estimated 346 million people worldwide have Type 2 diabetes, and according to the World Health Organization diabetes-related deaths are expected to double between 2005 and 2030.