Ditch Diabetes with Weights and Walking

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Filed Under: Diabetes, Exercise
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Ditch Diabetes with Weights and Walking

We’ve long known that aerobic exercise helps to prevent diabetes. Now, new research suggests pairing aerobics with weight training can lower your diabetes risk—significantly.

In a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers from Harvard and the University of South Denmark found that 30 minutes of weight training on five days a week lowered the risk of diabetes in men by up to 34 percent. Better still, by pairing weight training with aerobic exercise, they lowered their diabetes risk by 59 percent.

The reason is that aerobic exercise lowers blood sugar and burns calories, while resistance training, such as weightlifting, builds muscle and improves long-term insulin sensitivity. You don’t have to run marathons or lift 100 pound barbells—just get active.

Brisk walking is one of the easiest aerobic exercises. In fact, at the Whitaker Wellness Institute we take patients on a 10-minute walk after meals because this helps clear glucose out of the bloodstream. Studies have also shown that regular exercise resets your body’s thermostat for hours after you stop exercising—which is precisely what you want. So the most important thing is to choose something you enjoy and stick with it. I recommend at least 30–45 minutes of vigorous exercise four or more days per week.

As for weight lifting, I suggest getting instruction from a personal trainer, a group class at your gym, or a friend experienced in weightlifting. Once you get the hang of it, you can continue on your own—even working out at home with hand weights, if desired. I recommend at least two or three sessions of resistance exercise weekly.

Now it’s your turn: What’s your favorite way to exercise?

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