Don’t drop those dumbbells just yet. Research shows that muscle-strengthening activities, such as lifting weights, not only build strength, but may also lower a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health followed 99,316 middle-aged women, ages 31 to 81, for eight years. The women were from the Nurses’ Health Study and consisted of registered nurses with mostly European ancestry who were free of diabetes at the start of the study. A total of 3,491 women developed Type 2 diabetes over the course of the study.

During the study, the women who did at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity and at least 60 minutes of muscle-strengthening activities weekly had a 40% lower risk of developing diabetes.

The findings suggest that incorporating muscle strengthening and conditioning activities combined with aerobic activity provides substantial benefit for diabetes prevention in women.

Muscle-strengthening activities include:

· Pilates

· Yoga

· Weight Lifting

· Resistance Training

The women in the study who were exercising more frequently also tended to be making healthier food choices, weighed less and were less likely to have a family history of diabetes.

According to the research, women who exercised moderately had a lower risk of developing diabetes when compared to women who lived a sedentary lifestyle.

In the past, research has shown that aerobic exercise such as jogging, swimming and biking lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. The World Health Organization recommends that adults complete at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity to reduce the risk of diabetes.

What does this mean? In order to reduce the risk of developing diabetes women should aim for at least:

· 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity per week.

· And 60 minutes per week of muscle-strengthening activity.

To learn more on this topic:
Exercise Tips & Guidelines for Diabetics
Type 1 Diabetes: Risk Factors
Type 2 Diabetes: Risk Factors