Type 2 diabetes is one of the biggest problems facing our world today. It already affects about 10 percent of Americans—and that number is growing as we speak. Prediabetes, a condition characterized by heightened blood sugar levels that typically precedes a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, affects about 30 percent of Americans, and most don’t even know it.
Tackling America’s massive blood sugar problem will be a big job, and many people feel overwhelmed when faced with having to overhaul their diet and lifestyle. This is why a new study, showing that just a little bit of weight training can help prevent diabetes, is so encouraging.
For this study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers followed and collected data from 4,681 adults with no known blood sugar issues. Throughout the study period, which lasted just over 20 years, the participants underwent muscular strength tests (to assess upper- and lower-body strength) and treadmill exercise tests (to assess cardiovascular fitness) and diabetes screening. By the end of the study, 299 of the participants had developed diabetes.
When the researchers analyzed the data, dividing the participants into three groups—high muscular strength, middle, and low—they found that the participants in the middle group had a 32 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to the group who scored the lowest on the strength test. According to one of the authors on the study, “This is also the first study to investigate the relationship between muscular strength and risk of developing diabetes later in life.”
Interestingly, however, there was no significant difference in the risk of diabetes between the highest muscular strength and the lowest. What does this mean, exactly? You don’t have to join a CrossFit gym and get a bod like the Rock to be healthy (in fact, that will work against you when it comes to preventing diabetes). Instead, you just need to make sure you’re getting in enough strength training that you’re building and maintaining some moderate muscle strength.
This content was originally published here.