Study: Building Muscle May Reduce Diabetes Risk in Women

While cardiovascular exercise is very important to overall health, a new large-scale study published in January 2014 in PLOS Medicine sheds light on the importance of adding some muscle-building resistance training to your workouts: it may help lower women’s risk of type 2 diabetes.

The study was performed by researchers from several universities, including the Harvard School of Public Health. Researchers gathered approximately eight years of data from just under 100,000 American nurses, all of whom had no history of diabetes, cancer or heart disease at the start of the study.

The exercise habits of the nurses – cardiovascular (both moderate and vigorous), yoga, stretching, resistance training, weight lifting and toning – were noted, and then analyzed against the percentage of those who developed type 2 diabetes during the course of the eight years.

After adjusting results for type 2 diabetes risk factors including family history and diet, analysis showed that the more muscle conditioning exercises the women performed, the less likely they were to develop type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, the women who performed over 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week, along with 60 minutes or more of muscle conditioning exercises, were found to have only about a third of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, compared to the women who were not physically active.

women lifting weightsResearchers say that this result could be due to several factors, one of which is the “effect of muscle-strengthening and conditioning activity on skeletal muscle.” Previous research suggests that this also holds true for men.

As we all know, a truly healthy diet includes adding some variety to the nutritious foods that we eat. This study shows that variety is important to a healthy exercise routine, as well.

-The Alternative Daily


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