Dr. Zorba Paster: Move your muscles and ward off diabetes - The Buffalo News
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Dr. Zorba Paster: Move your muscles and ward off diabetes

If you’re worried about getting diabetes, I have good news for you. Recent research shows there is a new treatment that lowers your risk by 50 percent.

It’s not a pill. It’s not a vitamin. It’s not one of those fix-it-all gadgets you see on late-night TV infomercials.

It won’t cost you a dime. It’s simple to start but hard to stay with. Can you guess what it is?

It’s exercise – specifically weightlifting and aerobics.

This watershed study shows that a key step in stemming the diabetes epidemic is to put down the newspaper (after you finish reading WNY Refresh!), get up from the computer, turn off the TV and use your body.

This research, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, looked at 32,000 men who did not have diabetes when the study started. Every two years, the guys had a physical with their doctor, at which time they were asked about their exercise habits. All had their blood sugars tested to see if they were developing diabetes.

When the numbers were crunched, researchers showed that men who exercised 2½ hours a week were much less likely to become diabetics.

If they lifted weights, their risk dropped by a third. If they did aerobics, it dropped by half.

Astounding results. If I invented a pill that did this, I would make a gazillion dollars.

This is good news for those of you who lift. Weightlifting has been the poor cousin of aerobic exercise, often poo-pooed as being unhealthy. This research shows it’s good for your health, too.

Another study on exercise published in the same journal showed that diabetics who exercised the same 2½ hours a week had a 40 percent reduction in premature death. This study went one step further in defining exercise – it included gardening, dancing, vacuuming and mopping.

I can just see it now – health clubs that feature aerobic mopping and vacuuming. Hmmm – that might be a class I’d skip.

But seriously, it does mean that household chores also count in your exercise plan.

My spin: It’s time we wake up and smell the coffee. The fountain of youth that Ponce de Leon was searching for is right in front of us – it’s moving our muscles.

Dr. Zorba Paster is a family physician, professor, author and broadcast journalist. He hosts a radio call-in show at 3 p.m. Saturdays on WBFO-FM 88.7.

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