Over the years I have been a strong proponent of incorporating muscle strength training into lifestyle activities, not only to prevent osteoporosis, loss of muscle as we age, better joint stability and better overall functionality, but also to reduce the risk of certain diseases such as Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Many refereed publications support the importance of muscle strength training to reduce Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A recent article published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise in January 20171 takes the research to a new level in that this research tracked 35,754 females ages 47-98 years over 10 years (longitudinally 2000-2014) to measure the effects of strength training on the risk of getting Type II diabetes or cardiovascular disease. The findings show that women who participated in strength training exercises compared to those who did not had a decrease in the rate of developing Type II diabetes by approximately 30% and for developing cardiovascular disease by about 17%. If aerobic physical activity was added to the analysis in addition to strength training, an additional risk reduction was realized.
The study looked at various levels of strength training in terms of time (minutes) per week and showed that any level of strength training generated reduction in risk for Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
One additional benefit identified in the study was that any level of strength training also led to a lower body mass index (BMI), healthier dietary patterns and lower likelihood of being a smoker.
It should be noted that many studies show similar results for man but the MSSE study was the first longitudinal study.
Bottom line, with the increase in Type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome (includes cardiovascular risk), changes need to be made to our lifestyle choices if we elect to be healthy. Adding strength training to our weekly activities has so many health benefits besides the reduction in Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Getting involved with strength training exercises does not necessarily mean joining a fitness center. Many strength activities can be done in your own home.
1Shiroma, EJ, et.al. Strength Training and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol 49, pp.40-46, 2017