In a recent study from Iowa State University, researchers found building muscle strength may offer a way to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes.
They found that moderate muscle mass reduced the risk for type 2 diabetes by 32 percent. The benefits were independent of cardiorespiratory fitness. Higher levels of muscle strength did not provide additional protection.
Of the 30 million Americans with diabetes, 90 to 95% have type 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the study, the team analyzed data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, collected at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas. Participants ranged in age from 20 to 100 years old. They completed chest and leg presses to measure muscle strength.
The team found moderate strength reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes regardless of lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking, or health issues such as obesity and high blood pressure.
While several factors contribute to muscle strength, they say resistance exercise is important.
Previous research suggests that resistance training improves glucose levels and reduces waist circumference—an indicator of excess fat associated with type 2 diabetes and other health issues.
The team says people are not necessarily going to see the results of resistance training on their bathroom scales, but there are several health benefits.
It may help lower the risk for type 2 diabetes even though they do not lose body weight, and maintaining muscle mass helps people stay functional and independent throughout life.
The current study is one of the first to look at the risk of type 2 diabetes and muscle strength, separate from cardiorespiratory fitness.
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The study is published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. One author of the study is DC (Duck-chul) Lee.
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