By Sally Robertson, MedWire Reporter
Men who engage in weight training are at a reduced risk for Type 2 diabetes, especially if they combine this with aerobic exercise, show study findings.
Researchers found that a reduction in risk was achieved even with modest amounts of weight training, and adding weight training to aerobic exercise conferred an even greater benefit.
"These results support that weight training serves as an important alternative for individuals who have difficulty adhering to aerobic exercise," say Frank Hu (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) and colleagues.
In an analysis of self-reported data obtained over18 years as part of the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, Hu et al found that 2278 of 32,002 men developed diabetes.
As reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, multivariate analysis that included adjustment for aerobic exercise revealed a dose-response relationship between the amount of time spent weight training and the decrease in risk for diabetes.
Men who weight trained for 1 to 59, 60 to 149, and at least 150 minutes were 12%, 25%, and 34% less likely, respectively, to develop diabetes compared with men who did not weight train at all.
The respective risk reductions for men who performed aerobic exercise for these amounts of time were 7%, 31%, and 52%.
However, men who adhered to at least 150 minutes or more per week of both aerobic exercise and weight training had an even greater diabetes risk reduction, of 59%.
The researchers also found that the association between weight training and diabetes was stronger in men aged under 65 years, which may be because the intensity of weight training decreases at older ages, they suggest.
In addition, the association was found to be stronger in men with no family history of the condition, a finding that deserves more attention, remark Hu and colleagues.
The researchers say that to the best of their knowledge, this is the first study to examine the association between weight training and incident diabetes.
Further research should examine the effect of duration, type, and intensity of weight training on Type 2 diabetes, they conclude.
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