How Lifting Weights Helps Prevent Diabetes from How Lifting Weights Helps Prevent Diabetes

How Lifting Weights Helps Prevent Diabetes

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How Lifting Weights Helps Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes, the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S., is not a disease of blood sugar. It's a disease of insulin, a hormone the pancreas produces to help the body use sugar (glucose) from the carbs in the food for energy or store it for the future. Prevention efforts focused on diet, aerobic exercises and losing weight. You can add weight lifting to that list.

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The study

Researchers followed 32,002 men from 1990 to 2008. Information on how much time the men spent each week on weight training and aerobic exercise came from questionnaires they filled out every two years, according to a press release. Doctors adjusted for other types of physical activity, television viewing, alcohol and coffee intake, smoking, ethnicity, family history of diabetes, and a number of dietary factors. During the study period, there were 2,278 new cases of diabetes.

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Insulin resistance

Strength training is one of the most effective ways to regain or increase insulin sensitivity and reverse insulin resistance. “This all boils down to the ability of the body to transport glucose into the cells to be used [for energy],” Jason Chirichigno, MD from One Medical Group in Los Angeles says. 

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Leptin resistance

Leptin is a hormone produced in the fat cells in the body. One of leptin’s primary roles includesis regulating appetite and body weight. The hormone tells your brain what to do with the energy it has, according to Dr. Mercola. Leptin and insulin work hand in hand. Leptin is largely responsible for the accuracy of insulin signaling and whether or not you become insulin resistant. Exercise is one of the fastest and best ways to lower your insulin and leptin resistance.

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How much per day

study suggests that “men who do weight training regularly—for example, for 30 minutes per day, five days per week—may be able to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 34 percent.  Other research says that there is a significant decrease in the risk of developing diabetes when people did at least 1.5 hours a week.

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Combined with cardio

Combining weight training and aerobic exercise – runningbrisk walking, jogging –may be able to reduce the risk even up to 59 percent, according to the same study. Women who did more than 150 min/week of muscle-strengthening exercise, lower intensity muscle-conditioning exercises (yoga and toning), and aerobic moderate and vigorous physical activity, had 40 percent lower risk of developing diabetes compared toas women who did not exercise in this way at all.

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Glycogen and muscle mass

Glycogen is stored in muscle tissue and the liver. Basically, as we age, which comes with losing muscle mass (especially for women), we lose the glucose disposing tissue. So the more muscle we have now, the more we have as we get older. This is not to say that you have to look like a bodybuilder. “Basically,” Dr. Chirichigno says, “the more fat (adipose tissue) we have, the more inflammation we have, the higher the chance we are sedentary and less likely to be exercising.” 

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Fat and inflammation in the body

“The second issue with type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance) outside of the metabolic issues is the pro-inflammatory state of the body which once again interferes with the body’s ability to get that glucose into the cells. Resistance training has been shown to increase the transporters that carry glucose in.”

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The body and blood sugar

In general you don’t want to store sugar, you want it used, Dr. Chirichigno says. Strength training helps with that. “The more we do the better our body processes glucose.” “Both weight training and physical activity stimulate the molecular signaling pathways that get glucose into the cell,” he adds. 

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Do compound moves

Don’t do the same weight lifting workouts over and over again or moves that only target one group of muscles. Focus on compound exercises – they involve more than one muscle group. Lunges, squats, rowing, presses, deadlifts are all good examples. Compound exercises help the release of testosterone, which is crucial for muscle growth.

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No weights needed

Strength training, also called resistance training, and weight lifting is just one kind. Getting stronger is all about adding load to the body and stressing it. Timing and tension are what matter. Some of the best exercises that you can do anywhere at any time are pushups, planks, pullups, single-leg moves and bench dips.

How Lifting Weights Helps Prevent Diabetes