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Lift weight to ward off diabetes

Weight training is as effective as endurance exercise like running when it comes to warding off diabetes, says study.

health and fitness Updated: Feb 06, 2008 14:55 IST

Lifting weights may not give you a body like Bollywood heart throb Salman Khan. But, it can definitely help in keeping you fit and staving off the risk of diabetes later in life.

According to a study carried out by a team of international researchers, weight training is as effective as endurance exercises like running when it comes to burning fat and warding off diabetes. The researchers came to the conclusion after an experiment on rodents -- they created a mouse which carried a gene that, when switched on, gave them muscles similar to those produced by weight training.

When the gene was off, the mouse -- which was fed a fast food diet -- became obese and developed liver problems. But when on, the same mouse burned up fat, the researchers found in the Cell Metabolism study. In addition, the fatty liver disease the mouse had developed while the gene was off disappeared, and they stopped being resistant to insulin, a condition which can lead to type II diabetes.

This was despite the fact that the mouse was still eating a diet high in fat and sugar and did not increase its physical activity. In fact, the team genetically engineered the mouse to grow a certain type of muscle -- known as Type II -- which develops as a result of resistance training. "We've shown that Type II muscle does more than allow you to pick up heavy objects.

It's also important in controlling whole-body metabolism," the 'BBC News' portal quoted lead researcher Kenneth Walsh of Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) as saying. It may be because an increase in this type of muscle sparks changes in the rest of the body, the researchers said.