For years doctors have been saying that aerobic exercise and an active lifestyle lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. But scientists have long wondered if strength training combined with cardio can help lower the risk even more. Just as importantly, is just strength training alone enough to lower the risk even a little bit?
A new study answers this question. Drumroll please…. Indeed, strength training and resistance exercises (even yoga and Pilates!) are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Best of all, when these exercises are done in conjunction with your aerobic exercise, women’s risk drops by one-third!
Here’s the scoop: In a landmark Harvard School of Medicine study, researchers followed almost 100,000 middle-aged and older women who self-reported their amount of aerobic exercise (jogging, biking, etc), resistance exercise (using weights or body weight exercises), and lower intensity muscular conditioning exercise (like yoga, stretching, Pilates). Those who did the equivalent of 15 minutes of strength work after 40 minutes of cardio 4-times a week fared best, reducing their risk by around 33 percent.
Ready to get reduce your risk? Try this easy 15-minute resistance workout—no equipment needed!
- Do 60 seconds of push-ups. Any kind and as many as you can! Push-ups against the wall, or resting your knees on the ground, it’s all good. Remember to keep your core engaged and shoulders relaxed away from your ears.
- Do 60 seconds of triceps dips. Using a chair, step, or just sitting on the floor, place your hands by your hips and point your fingers towards your toes. Press your hips up and keep them there! Slowly bend and straighten your elbows without setting your hips down on the floor or chair. A big time burn for the back of your arms! Bonus points for trying a few on one leg.
- Do a 60 second plank. Plank is one of the best total body strengthening exercises there is. Hold at the top of your push-up position. You may also place your elbows on the floor for forearm plank. Keep your whole body in one long line from your heels to the top of your head and don’t forget to breathe!
- 60 seconds of lunges. Step your right foot in front far enough so when you bend your knees, you make 90 angles with both legs. Push back to your start position for one rep. Repeat for 30 seconds then switch legs.
- Do 60 seconds of squats. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your weight in your heels. Bend your knees as if sitting into a chair. Holding your tummy tight, press back to standing. Repeat as many times as you can in 60 seconds.
Repeat this series 3 times for a total body blast before or after your cardio.