By Ann Gates
The recent viral videos and ‘outtakes’ of the responses to this pertinent (and yes, hilariously funny) rhetorical question got me thinking… what a great question to trend in the fight against the type 2 diabetes epidemic.
Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable and treatable with the right medicines, a healthy, balanced diet and regular daily exercise. Recent studies show that adding in resistance or ‘strength’ training confers significant results in the overall management and health outcomes of Type 2 diabetes. Two particular studies warrant highlighting:
- The Umpierre, 2011 study clearly shows that a structured exercise plan including strength training, is associated with greater health outcomes including a significant HbA(1c) reduction in patients with type 2 diabetes than with exercise plans without strength training. Structured exercise training such as aerobic exercise, resistance training, or both combined of more than 150 minutes per week is associated with greater HbA(1c) declines and is also a cost effective management approach in type 2 diabetes. However, the physical activity advice is associated with lower HbA(1c) only when combined with dietary advice. This adds even more weight to the question ‘do you even lift. Bro?’ The study clearly demonstrates that a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training improves the overall management and cost effectiveness of type 2 diabetes care.
- The second study of interest showed that men who do strength (resistance) training regularly—for example, for 30 minutes per day, five days per week—may be able to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 34%. In this new 2012 study, by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) and University of Southern Denmark researchers also combined strength training and aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking or running, and showed that men may be able to reduce their type 2 diabetes risk even further—up to 59%!
59% reduction of risk of type 2 diabetes is surely something that all health commissioners, doctors, sports and exercise specialists, allied health professionals and patients at risk of developing type 2 diabetes should be aiming for with structured exercise plans and lifestyle advice.
In fact, wouldn’t it be fantastic if patients actually knew this benefit of a regular exercise plan including strength exercises as part of routine exercise plans in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes? Wouldn’t it be a great idea to use social media in this way, to get the message over to health professionals and their patients that yes … medically and scientifically……..strength training works!
So actually, as dangerous as asking the question is, ‘Do you even lift, Bro?’ (you have to watch the videos to really appreciate the risks of this scenario….!).
The enlightened answer is…
“Bro….. I lift because it reduces my risks of type 2 diabetes by 39%, I run because it reduces those risks further by 25%, I also add in balance and flexibility training ‘cause man… that really helps you feel good in yourself…… I combine all of this with a healthy diet….”
And the outtakes may well result in better national, local and individual health in the management of type 2 diabetes!
Ann Gates is the founder of Exercise Works! @exerciseworks
Disclosures: Many thanks to my ‘physiotherapy student’ son for enlightening his mum on what’s funny and cool in the world!
Strength training support should be offered to all patients at risk of type 2 diabetes.