Do men need another reason to hit the gym? Researchers from Harvard University can give them one. According to a new study by the University, a toned body can significantly reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes in men.
The research found that regular weight training can cut chances of developing the most common form of diabetes by up to 34 per cent, the Daily Mail reported.
Adding aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or running, can lead to even greater benefits, the research showed.
The research analysed data on 32,000 Americans taking part in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which looked at lifestyle effects on health.
During the study period from 1990 to 2008, a total of 2,278 participants developed Type 2 diabetes.
“Until now, previous studies have reported that aerobic exercise is of major importance for Type 2 diabetes prevention. But many people have difficulty engaging in or adhering to aerobic exercise,” Lead scientist Anders Grontved from the University of Southern Denmark, who is seconded to Harvard University, said.
“These new results suggest that weight training, to a large extent, can serve as an alternative to aerobic exercise for Type 2 diabetes prevention,” he was quoted by the paper as saying.
The findings showed that even modest amounts of weight training may reduce diabetes risk.
Participants were categorised according to whether they did between one and 59 minutes, 60 and 149 minutes, or at least 150 minutes of weight training a week.
Pushing iron reduced diabetes risk by 12 per cent, 25 per cent and 34 per cent respectively, compared with no training.
The most active men who did more than 150 minutes of aerobics as well as at least 150 minutes of weight training per week cut their risk by close to two thirds.
Type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked to obesity and lifestyle, occurs when the body stops responding to the blood sugar regulating hormone insulin.
The study was published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
“This study provides clear evidence that weight training has beneficial effects on diabetes risk over and above aerobic exercise, which are likely to be mediated through increased muscle mass and improved insulin sensitivity,” co-author Professor Frank Hu, a Nutrition Expert from the Harvard School of Public Health, said.
“To achieve the best results for diabetes prevention, resistance training can be incorporated with aerobic exercise,” he added.