Lifting weights can help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart problems, according to scientists from the University of North Florida.
The researchers conducted a study to see if there was an association between weight lifting and metabolic syndrome – a cluster of risk factors linked to both heart disease and diabetes, such as high fasting glucose levels, elevated blood pressure, large waist circumference, and low levels of HDL cholesterol.
After comparing the health survey responses of more than 5,000 US adults with blood samples taken from the participants, they found that one in four (25 per cent) of those who said they frequently lifted weights had metabolic syndrome – defined as having at three or more metabolic risk factors – compared to 37.3 per cent who did not.
After adjusting for demographic factors, they concluded that muscle building exercise reduced the risk of metabolic syndrome by 37 per cent.
“Lifting weights may play a role in reducing the prevalence and risk of metabolic syndrome among U.S. adults,” the authors wrote in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
Lead researcher Dr Peter Magyari recommended that exercise trainers “strongly encourage” weight training among adults of all ages to promote metabolic health and help protect against conditions such type 2 diabetes.
The findings support a recent study by scientists from Harvard and the University of Southern Denmark, which found that weight lifting five times a week can cut the risk of developing the type 2 form of diabetes by up to 34 per cent – rising to 60 per cent if combined with aerobic training such as brisk walking or jogging.

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