Strength training may be one more weapon against type 2 diabetes

By Natasha Persaud

Weight Training Image - Rebus

The race against diabetes may be to the strong, as well as to the swift. Weight training reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 35 percent among men over age 40, according to an observational study of over 32,000 men published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. That’s comparable to the benefits seen with aerobic exercises, such as walking, swimming and jogging. Doing both strength training and aerobic exercise for at least 150 minutes per week (e.g., a half hour or more each weekday) reduced risk the most. Maintaining a healthy weight was also important.

In weight training, a person performs push ups or chin ups, lifts free weights such as dumbbells, or uses weight machines that employ pulleys and stacks. For best results and to avoid injury, it’s important to work with a fitness trainer to learn proper technique.

Diabetes & Strength Training

Strength training, in general, may be one more weapon to prevent type 2 diabetes, a widespread disease that is projected to affect as many as 1 in 3 U.S. adults by 2050 if current trends continue, reports the CDC. According to the study authors, resistance training enhances glucose use, as well as increases lean muscle.

Even if you have diabetes already, strength training is beneficial. Recent research shows that resistance training, which employs resistance bands instead of weights, can improve glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes, even in the absence of aerobic training, according to background information in the study. Exercise guidelines from the American Diabetes Association call for resistance exercises three times a week (with a day or more of rest in between), along with aerobic exercise.

Strength training may be an attractive option for people who find it difficult to walk for exercise, such as those with knee arthritis. For everyone, adding strength training exercises to a weekly workout helps to re-build muscle mass, something we lose as we grow older. And exercise in general is a powerful mood lifter.

So get started with strength training for your health's sake. Try adding a pair of hand weights to your daily walks. Also, try these 3 strength training exercises at home, with your doctor’s okay. Later, you can progress to a more rigorous workout with the help of a trainer, and reap all the benefits exercise has to offer.


Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

“Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes: American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: Joint Position Statement,” December 2010.

Grontved, A. “A Prospective Study of Weight Training and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Men.” Archives of Internal Medicine, published online August 6, 2012.

Publication Review By: the Editorial staff at

Published: 08 Aug 2012

Last Modified: 11 Sep 2015