It’s common knowledge that regular aerobic exercise reduces the risk of diabetes, but a recent study revealed strength training, or anaerobic exercise, also reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes in women. The Nurses Health Study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that women who do strength training exercises just an hour a week reduce their risk of developing diabetes by 14 percent. Over 150 minutes of weekly conditioning exercises reduces the risk by 40 percent.
This study also showed that you don’t need to run off to the gym and grab the biggest dumbbell available. Exercises like yoga and stretching are also great diabetes prevention activities. Researchers aren’t sure why yoga and stretching are also beneficial to reducing the risk of diabetes, but they think it may be linked to the effect these exercises have on lowering the loss of lean muscle mass or on how the body processes glucose. An added benefit to building lean muscle mass is that you burn more calories when your body is at rest.
Health.gov recommends moderate exercise for 150 minutes (2 hours 30 minutes) a week (a little over 20 minutes a day), and doing strength training at least twice a week. If just the thought of going to the gym makes you sweat, start small. Fit 10-minute increments of exercise into your schedule and slowly build up to longer periods of activity.