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The cartoon character Mighty Mouse made his first appearance in the 1940s. He had many superpowers, including flight, X-ray vision and the ability to turn back time. Mighty Mouse was also endowed with super-strength, even though he never did much real weight-training.

These days, however, some energetic mice are working on their muscles, and they have an unusual superpower of their own: They could help us humans figure out how to prevent (or reverse) Type 2 diabetes.

A new study published in the Journal of Endocrinology had obese diabetic mice take part in a 15-day strength-training program: They climbed up stairs 20 times at 90-second intervals with weight on their tails. While the program was not long enough to make them lose weight or change body shape, the activity led to reduced levels of fat around their livers and improved glucose regulation. By the end of the experiment, the mice's fasting blood sugar levels were normal.

Studies of humans identify similar benefits of weight- and resistance-training. One study of people with diabetes found that muscle-building, high-intensity resistance training resulted in a 16% increase in insulin sensitivity after six weeks.

If you have prediabetes or are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you should consider incorporating weight- and/or resistance training into your routine two to three times a week. You can use hand weights and stretchy bands at home and weight machines at the gym, and/or take a class that uses your own body weight to work your muscles (calisthenics, Pilates or yoga).

 

(c)2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

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