Study Shows Long-Term Fitness Reduces Diabetes Risk

A recent study conducted at the University of Minnesota revealed that long-term cardio-respiratory fitness can reduce the risk of prediabetes and diabetes.

Muscular-instructorApproximately 4,373 participants were studied at three different times over a 20-year period to determine their cardio-respiratory fitness level. Their diabetic status was evaluated five times during the extended study, taking age and BMI into consideration. Those who did not show a risk of developing diabetes were at a higher level of cardio-respiratory fitness than the nearly 60 percent of participants who developed pre or Type 2 Diabetes by the end.

The researchers hypothesize that exercise reduces risk because of its impact on visceral fat, the body fat in and around the abdomen, its anti-inflammatory benefits and its improvement of insulin resistance.

According to the American Diabetes Association, other benefits of physical activity include improved blood flow, strengthened heart, muscles and bones and decreased stress. Additionally, exercise helps keep blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol in check. So, what kinds of physical activity are best for preventing prediabetes and diabetes?


Also known as cardio workouts, aerobic exercises get your heart pumping and your blood flowing at low or high intensity. Popular forms include walking, swimming and biking. All three of these activities are perfect for summer, so you can get outside in the fresh air while improving your health and lessening your risk of disease.

Strength Training

If you want toned muscles, you are probably familiar with strength training. Lifting weights, combined with aerobic activity, will reduce body fat and define your muscles. Dumbbells or resistance bands are the only equipment you’ll need to start strength training. More training leads to a more reduced risk of diabetes, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.


In order to be active, you need to be physically fit. Flexibility exercises, like stretching, keep your muscles and joints functional. In addition to preparing your muscles for the stresses of physical activity, stretching reduces your risk of an injury that could prevent you from being able to exercise. In addition to diabetes, sedentary behavior increases your risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, obesity and bone deficiencies.

Fitness not only reduces your risk of diabetes, but other preventative diseases too. If you’re looking to focus more attention on your health, consider a North Haven Health & Racquet membership. Contact us today to learn more.