Weight Training Associated With Low Risk of Diabetes in Men

Weight training reduces men's risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) independent of aerobic activity, and the combination of weight training and aerobic exercise has the largest benefit, according to a study published on Aug. 6 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

A previous meta-analysis showed that resistance training positively affects glycemic control in patients with T2DM. This prospective cohort study set out to examine "the role of weight training as the primary prevention of T2DM." Completing 150 minutes of weight training or aerobic exercise per week resulted in 34 percent and 52 percent reduction in risk of T2DM, respectively. Risk was reduced by 59 percent in men who engaged in both weight training and aerobic exercise for 150 minutes per week. "These results support that weight training is a valuable alternative for individuals who have difficulty adhering to aerobic exercise, and adding weight training to aerobic exercise seems to give further protection from T2DM," write the authors.


The risk of T2DM was lowered by 13 percent for every 60 minutes of weight training per week. There was a stronger association of weight training and T2DM risk in men under the age of 65 as well as in men with no family history of T2DM. "The possible weakened relationship between weight training and T2DM risk in men with a positive family history deserves more attention in future studies," the authors noted. These associations were less evident in the way of aerobic exercise.

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The study examined 32,002 men enrolled in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study that surveyed participants biennially over the course of 18 years. During the 508,332 person-years of follow-up, 2,278 new cases of T2DM were documented.

While this study provides initial insight, "further research should examine the effect of duration, type, and intensity of weight training on T2DM risk in greater detail," the authors conclude.

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