The benefits of exercise in promoting and maintaining good health are widely known, particularly for women wishing to prevent or reduce the risk of diabetes. Regular exercise helps to regulate blood sugar levels in your body and helps decrease the possibility of developing diabetes. New studies show that muscle strengthening and conditioning, alone or in conjunction with aerobic activity, are also linked to a reduction of the risk in the development of diabetes.
There have been studies in the past that have shown that men who weight train have a decreased risk for developing diabetes. This recent study is the first to show the same benefits for women.
As with aerobic exercise, the benefits of muscle strengthening and conditioning in the prevention of diabetes are many. Women who engage in these activities gain:
- improved cholesterol profiles
- increased heart function
- decreased blood pressure
- improved blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity
- improved muscular strength and endurance
- increased bone strength
For women who are at risk for developing diabetes, engaging in any type of exercise will help. Women who participate in muscle strengthening and conditioning, even without aerobic activity, will still considerably lessen their risk of developing diabetes. The conditioning exercises should focus on the upper and lower body with at least a moderate intensity, several times each week. Some of these include:
- arm curl
- military press
- bench press
- knee and back extensions
- bent knee sit-ups
- circuit weight training
Women who engage in both aerobic and strength training reaped the most benefits. For those who cannot engage in aerobic exercise, the muscle strengthening and conditioning exercises alone still offer plenty of benefits.
Women who are looking to reduce their risk of diabetes should speak to their physicians about incorporating these activities into their current physical activity plan. Incorporating muscle strengthening and conditioning with aerobic activity provides the most benefit.