Maintaining moderate muscle strength could help adults lower their risk of type 2 diabetes, US researchers suggest.
A team from the Iowa State University report that adults with moderate muscle strength have an associated 32% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Higher levels of muscle strength, however, were not associated with any reduced type 2 diabetes risk.
The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how muscle strength could impact type 2 diabetes risk, nor did it determine which exercises and workouts affected diabetes prevention the most.
A limitation of the study is that no diet information was reported by participants, and diet is one of the most significant factors related to type 2 diabetes risk.
Throughout this week, which is Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week, we have been spotlighting our Low Carb Program members who prevented type 2 diabetes by making healthy dietary changes.
The US research involved 4,681 people aged 43 on average who did not have type 2 diabetes. They were asked to carry out a series of fitness tests to measure their fitness and muscle strength levels. The activities involved leg and bench presses as well as using the treadmill.
During an average follow-up of eight years, the research team revisited the participants and found 5% had developed type 2 diabetes.
The researchers report that moderate muscle mass reduced the risk for type 2 diabetes by 32%, irrespective of previous fitness levels, smoking, drinking, obesity and high blood pressure.
Dr Angelique Brellenthi, from the Iowa State University in Ames, said: “Performing even a small amount of resistance training, which is a main contributor to muscular strength, may provide big benefits. Bodyweight squats, lunges, push-ups and planks are great for beginners.”
Although the study findings suggest that moderate strength can be beneficial, the research team say it is not possible to be exact with how much training people need to do to reduce their type 2 diabetes risk.
The findings have been published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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