Worried About Diabetes? Pumping Iron Can Help.

In the U.S. alone, 18.8 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes and it’s estimated that another 7 million have it but haven’t been diagnosed yet. And 79 million people are pre-diabetic, meaning their blood glucose levels are higher than they should be but not quite high enough to warrant the diagnosis. All told, that’s nearly one in Americans.

There’s not a lot of good news about diabetes: it’s linked to heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and more. But a recent study should be cause for celebration.

According to researchers, men who do regular weight training can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (the most common form) by as much as 34 percent. If you can add in some aerobic exercises (that gets your heart rate up) like running, walking, or swimming, your risk will drop even more.

And you don’t have to go crazy. It turns out that even a little bit of weight helps. Men who did between 1 and 59 minutes of weights per week reduced their risk by 12 percent. Those who pumped iron 60-149 minutes per week cut their risk by 25 percent, and guys who were lifting 150 or more minutes per week lowered their risk by 34 percent.  And the real gym rats—150 minutes or more with the weights, 150 minutes or more doing aerobic training—reduced their risk by two thirds!

So if your doctor has warned you that you have pre-diabetes, head down to the gym. And if you haven’t seen a doctor in the past year, make the call now. You can’t be diagnosed if you don’t see a doctor.

The results of the study were published in Archives of Internal Medicine. You can read a bit more about the study here.

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