Fellas: Don’t Want Diabetes? Pump Some Iron

Lifting weights and exercise reduces your diabetes risk by 59 percent.

Posted: 08/09/2012 09:45 AM EDT

Here’s what we know about Type-2 diabetes in our community:

 

— 14.7 percent of all African-Americans aged 20 years or older have diabetes.

— African-Americans are 1.8 times more likely to have diabetes than whites.

— 25 percent of African-Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have diabetes.

— Every African-American born has a 50 percent chance of developing the disease.

Black men have a particular worrisome relationship with diabetes. They are less likely to be tested for the disease or have their disease under control. So what can Black men — older and younger — do to reduce their risk?

 

Obviously cutting back on fatty foods and aerobic exercise such as Zumba and running can make a difference. But a new study found that lifting weights can help, too.

 

For almost 20 years, researchers from Harvard University in Boston and the University of Southern Denmark in Odense followed 32,000 men and found that the men who lifted weights for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, slashed their risk of diabetes by up to 34 percent. When they added exercise, the risk was cut by 59 percent.

 

According to CBS News, researchers also found:

 
— Men who lifted weights 1-59 minutes a week reduced their diabetes risk by 12.5 percent.

— Men who lifted weights 60-149 minutes reduced their risk by 25 percent.

— 150 minutes and more reduced their risk by 34 percent.

— When aerobic exercise was thrown into the mix, they found that it reduced diabetes risk by 7 percent, 31 percent and 52 percent in the three groups.

 

Anders Grontved, a nutrition researcher and doctoral student in exercise epidemiology at the University of Southern Denmark said that this news is good for those who have issues working out. He said, "Many people have difficulty engaging in or adhering to aerobic exercise. These new results suggest that weight training, to a large extent, can serve as an alternative to aerobic exercise for Type-2 diabetes prevention."

 

So what about lifting weights makes a difference?

 

People with Type-2 diabetes have the ability to make insulin — a hormone that helps break down the sugar in food and store it as energy. But the issue is that they don’t respond well to it, so they have to take medicine to help reverse that reaction.

 

Harvard’s Dr. Frank Hu, lead author of the study, told Reuters that building muscle helps the body be less sensitive to the insulin. He said, "I think the benefits of weight training are real. Any type of exercise is beneficial for diabetes prevention, but weight training can be incorporated with aerobic exercise to get the best results."

 

There is some bad news for the ladies, though. Researchers only tested men and state that more research on strength training, diabetes risk and women need to be done. But that shouldn’t stop you all from pumping some iron — they are tons of other benefits.

 

Learn more about diabetes here.

 

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(Photo: GettyImages)

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