A new study published August 6 in Archives of Internal Medicine finds that weight training is associated with a significantly lower risk of type 2 diabetes, independent of aerobic exercise.
Researchers conducted a prospective study of 32,002 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study observed from 1990 to 2008. They obtained the weekly time spent on weight training and aerobic exercise (including brisk walking, jogging, running, bicycling, swimming, tennis, squash, and calisthenics/rowing) through questionnaires at baseline and biennially during follow-up.
In the 18-year follow-up, the researchers documented 2,278 new cases of type 2 diabetes. In multivariable-adjusted models, they observed a dose-response relationship between an increasing amount of time spent on weight training or aerobic exercise and lower risk of the disease. Engaging in weight training or aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes per week was independently associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes—34% and 52%, respectively. Men who engaged in aerobic exercise and weight training for at least 150 minutes per week had the greatest reduction in type 2 diabetes (59%).
For people who have difficulty engaging in or adhering to aerobic exercise, the results suggest "that weight training, to a large extent, can serve as an alternative to aerobic exercise for type 2 diabetes prevention," lead researcher Anders Grøntved, MPH, MSc, told HealthDay News.
A separate study also published yesterday in the journal found that higher levels of physical activity were associated with lower mortality risk in people with diabetes. Even study participates who engaged in moderate amounts of activity were "at appreciably lower risk for early death compared with inactive persons," say the study's authors.