Power Up Against Diabetes With Strength Training

Fed up of not seeing positive blood sugar numbers even after those diligent walks every day? It’s time to flex those muscles!  Experts say that doing strength training along with aerobic exercise bring better results for diabetics than doing either alone.  

Why Resistance/Strength Training Is Good For You 

Resistance or strength training is like a magic potion for your system. When combined with regular aerobic exercise, it can help those with diabetes or other metabolic disorders: 

  • Improve insulin sensitivity 
  • Lower blood glucose 
  • Maintain muscle tone and reduce age-related muscle atrophy 
  • Build stronger muscles  
  • Strengthen bones and lower risk of fractures and osteoporosis 
  • Reduce liver fat 
  • Control blood pressure 
  • Boost good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol levels  
  • Increase lean muscle mass and kick up base metabolic rate 

Plus, with more muscle power, you burn more calories – even when you’re not exercising!

Dos and Don’ts For Strength Training 

The thought of strength training can be daunting for someone who hasn’t done it before. But really, it is nothing more than using resistance in the form of your body weight, external weights, or things like elastic bands to add more work for specific muscle groups. 

Keep these pointers in mind so you get it right. 

  • Don’t restrict yourself to just weight training. Strength training includes all kinds of fun workouts that don’t involve lifting weights. 
  • Do start with something you enjoy like a Pilates class. 
  • Do use your body weight! Body-weight exercise like squats, push-ups, lunges, and planks are all forms of resistance training. 
  • Do plan 2 to 3 sets with 8 or 12 repetitions. Take 60-second breaks to rest between sets. 
  • Don’t avoid carbs in your pre- and post-workout meals. You need carbs to give you the energy to work out. Without it, your body will burn protein instead, hampering your efforts to build muscle. Just choose smartly – low glycemic index foods and healthy carbs are good in moderation. 
  • Do work out for 20 to 60 minutes at least. 
  • Don’t start any new exercise regimen without first getting your doctor to okay it. 
  • Do some aerobic exercise on other days. It’s important to get a mix of both.
  • Don’t forget to add things like machine or free weights and resistance bands as you build strength. 

I’m ready to beat diabetes! Show me more ways to get fit and keep my blood sugar in control. 

References

  1. Exercise for Diabetes, American Diabetes Association
  2. Short Term Strength Training, Journal of Endocrinology
  3. The Benefits of Strength Training, Diabetes Australia
  4. Building Muscle with Diabetes, Diabetes UK