Lift weights to ward off metabolic syndrome, diabetes

As if you need another reason to hit the gym, here's some food for thought: Pumping iron could help reduce your risk for factors that cause diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

A study from Brooks College of Health showed that both men and women who consistently lifted weights had a 37-percent lower rate of developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of risk factors that can predispose a person to type 2 diabetes and heart disease: a large waist size (more than 40 inches for men and 35 inches for women), high blood pressure, high blood fats and high blood sugar, to name a few.

Study details

Researchers sampled more than 5,000 participants and asked them whether or not they lifted weights. Those who said they did lift weights were found to have a 24.6 percent rate of metabolic syndrome, compared to 37.3 percent for those that said they did not lift weights.

Prior research on the topic has shown that muscle strength and mass have a positive correlation with lower rates of metabolic syndrome.

Limitations and variables

One limitation of the study, however, was that researchers had limited information about the type and intensity of the participants' weight lifting habits. People who engaged in weight lifting because of jobs that require manual labor, for instance, are variables that were not accounted for.

Fitness experts usually recommend incorporating a weight-lifting regime into a weekly fitness routine.

"Exercise professionals should strongly encourage the activity of lifting weights among adults of all ages to promote metabolic health," noted researchers Peter M. Magyari and James R. Churilla in a press release.

Sources: New York Daily News, Daily Rx

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