Can Exercise Lower Your Risk of Diabetes?

Aerobic exercise like walking or running lowers the risk of diabetes. But what about muscle-strengthening exercise like weight lifting or lower-intensity muscle-conditioning exercise like stretching, toning, or yoga?


Scientists tracked roughly 99,000 women aged 36 to 81 in the Nurses’ Health Study. After eight years, those who reported doing muscle-strengthening and/or conditioning exercise for more than 2½ hours a week had a 35 to 40 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than inactive women. Women who did those exercises for 1 to 2½ hours a week had a 20 to 25 percent lower risk.

Even better, women who reported at least an hour a week of muscle-strengthening and conditioning plus at least 2½ hours a week of aerobic exercise had a 67 percent lower risk of diabetes than inactive women.

What to do: Get moving. Though this type of study can’t prove cause and effect, other studies show that exercise helps keep a lid on blood sugar, blood insulin, and weight gain…not to mention heart disease, stroke, colon and breast cancer, and more.

Source: PLoS Med. 11: e1001587, 2014.

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