Here’s more motivation to get your female clients interested in lifting weights: Strength training can help to ward off diabetes.

The researchers, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and the University of Southern Denmark, analyzed data from 99,316 female participants in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Nurses’ Health Study II. The women, aged 36–81, did not present with diabetes, cancer or cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the 8-year study.

“Participants reported weekly time spent on resistance exercise, lower intensity muscular conditioning exercises (yoga, stretching, toning), and aerobic moderate and vigorous physical activity,” reported the authors.

By the study’s conclusion, 3,491 incidences of type 2 diabetes had been reported. The researchers learned that “resistance exercise and lower intensity muscular conditioning exercises were each independently associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes” if subjects participated regularly.

Disease risk was even lower when women performed both strength and cardiovascular training. “Women who engaged in at least 150 min/week of aerobic moderate and vigorous physical activity and at least 60 min/week of muscle-strengthening activities had substantial risk reduction compared with inactive women,” the authors said.

The study can be found in PLOS Medicine (doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001587).

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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