Harvard Health Letter

Lift weights for diabetes protection

If you can't do aerobics, weights can aid prevention.

You've probably heard that exercise helps to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. But you may assume that means you need to perform aerobic exercise that leads to weight loss, and that may seem daunting. Now a study from Harvard and the University of Southern Denmark says that men who do weight training instead can still significantly cut their diabetes risk. "It's great news for people who may not be able to do aerobic activity," says Dr. Eric Rimm, one of the authors of the study and an associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.

How it works

Your body relies on a basic fuel called glucose, which comes from the starches and sugars you eat. A hormone called insulin delivers the glucose from your blood to the cells of your body. But if you don't produce enough insulin or if your cells ignore the insulin, you may develop a condition called type 2 diabetes.

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