Diabetes is a medical condition in which a person has high blood sugar. If diabetes is developed because this person’s body does not produce insulin, the condition is called Type-1 diabetes. This person has to inject insulin or wear an insulin pump. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy.
On the other hand, if the diabetic condition is a result of insulin resistance (insufficient insulin is produced or the body cannot use insulin properly), the condition is referred to as Type-2 diabetes.
Type-2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. As of 2012, an estimated 346 million people globally have this type of diabetes.
A diabetic who does not receive proper treatments might develop many complications, including heart disease, hypertension, stroke, chronic renal failure, peripheral arterial disease and retinal damage.
While adequate medical treatment is a must for diabetics, lifestyle factors such as maintaining a healthy body weight and physically active are equally important.
It is known that aerobic exercise is beneficial for diabetes, as indicated by many studies. But, there is so far none have looked at weight training.
Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Southern Denmark reported online on August 6, 2012 in the ‘Archives of Internal Medicine’ that for diabetes, weight training is probably as important as aerobic training. They used data on more than 32,002 male health professionals, who answered questionnaires every 2 years from 1990 to 2008.
It was found that on average, 4 out of 1,000 men developed Type-2 diabetes every year. The risk of getting this disease was only 50 percent for men who did cardio or aerobic workouts at least 150 minutes a week (30 minutes a day, 5 times a week), compared with those who did not do any cardio exercise. The workouts included brisk walking, jogging or playing tennis.
For men who did weight training for 150 minutes (30 minutes a day, 5 times a week) or more, their risk of developing the disease was reduced by about 33 percent compared to those who never lifted weights, independently of whether or not they did aerobic exercise.
Though weight training does increase muscle mass and can reduce abdominal obesity, it does not cut overall body mass. In fact, any kind of exercise is good to prevent diabetes. Weight lifting, however, can be incorporated with aerobic exercise to get the best results.
While appropriate diet is important for diabetes prevention, it is also important for people who already have diabetes to have adequate exercise to help control reduce high blood sugar.