Researchers have found that men who take part in regular weight training reduced the risk of Type 2 diabetes by up to a third.
A study of more than 32,000 men published in the Archives of Internal Medicine journal today says that while it is well known that regular aerobic exercise reduces diabetes risk scientists wanted to examine exercise options for those who are less mobile.
Researchers from Harvard School of Public Health in the US and the University of Southern Denmark followed the men over an 18-year period, during which time nearly 2,300 developed the condition.
They found 30 minutes of weights a day, five times a week could reduce the risk of diabetes by 34%. But they also found that even less regular exercise – just an hour a week – was also helpful, cutting the risk by 12%.
Nonetheless, aerobic exercise was still found to be slightly better with regular activity halving the risk. The two combined had the greatest effect, reducing it by up to 59%, the study found.
Lead author Anders Grontved said: "Many people have difficulty engaging in or adhering to aerobic exercise.
"These new results suggest that weight training, to a large extent, can serve as an alternative."
It is not clear if the same results would be found with women.