Men who regularly lift weights are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, according to new research published online in the Archives of Internal Medicine .
Scientists from Harvard School of Public Health in the US and the University of Southern Denmark found that weight training five times a week reduces the risk of developing the most common form of the disease by up to 34 per cent – rising to 60 per cent if combined with aerobic exercises such as brisk walking or running.
For their study, the researchers analysed the lifestyle habits of 32,000 men over an 18 year period, during which time a total of 2,278 participants developed type 2 diabetes.
They found that those who spent up to an hour lifting weights per week lowered their risk of type 2 diabetes by 12 per cent, compared with those who did no weight training. The risk reduction increased to 25 per cent for men completing between 60 and 149 minutes of weight lifting, and 34 per cent for those who spent at least 150 minutes a week pumping iron.
But the biggest benefit was seen in those who did more than 150 minutes of aerobic exercise together with at least 150 minutes of weight training per week, with diabetes risk among this group falling by 59 per cent.
Study leader Frank Hu, from the Harvard School of Public Health, said: “This study suggests that weight training is important for diabetes, and probably as important as aerobic exercise.
“Any type of exercise is beneficial for diabetes prevention, but weight training can be incorporated with aerobic exercise to get the best results.”
According to the authors, the findings also suggest that weight training provides an alternative option for type 2 diabetes prevention for people who “have difficulty engaging in or adhering to aerobic exercise “.
However, they warned that the results may not be the same for women and other ethnic or racial groups of men as most of the study participants were white males.

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