Strength and resistance training can work wonders in preventing and helping manage type 2 diabetes. Fitness expert explains how this works and which exercise to do.
Exercise, and particularly strength or resistance training, is critical to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes, and is an excellent way to improve insulin sensitivity to promote a lean body composition. There is extensive research to show that strength training is as effective as aerobic exercise and could possibly provide significantly greater benefits for preventing diabetes and making sure your insulin is working at its best.
Even if diabetes is not a concern for you, it’s likely you can inspire and empower a friend, family member or loved ones who is at risk or already has the disease to exercise for a better quality of life and fewer negative symptoms.
So what works best? There have been many studies conducted that suggest daily activity is crucial so if you are not doing anything even a small daily walk will help get you on the right track. And when I say small, I mean small. Start with 5-minute blocks of exercise throughout the day and slowly build up to 10- to 15-minute blocks. This keeps it achievable and not so daunting.
The evidence is convincing that strength or resistance training can:
- Improve insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake
- Burn fat
- Support heart health
- Improve general movement and function
- Lower depression in diabetics
1. Choose Exercises Where You Focus On Quality Not Quantity
Choose exercise that focus on weight rather than the number of times you perform them. A press up is a good example. You may start out on the floor on your knees and only bend your elbows halfway while you build up your strength. You can then start to go deeper until you can perform full press ups on your knees. Now start to go back to only bending your elbows halfway but come up off your knees and try performing them on your toes. Again, quality and weight take precedence over quantity so aim for 8 to 12 repetitions before moving on to the next phase of the exercise.
2. Move often
If this is a little too much for you to begin with, even a bit of extra housecleaning or a walk to the shops instead of driving can help. Even though this more moderate form of activity won’t have a dramatic fat loss effect, it will support insulin health throughout the day, which is key to helping manage diabetes. Avoid being sedentary as much as possible, because lack of movement, even if for a few hours, has the opposite effect, lowering your metabolism, glucose tolerance and fat burning capacity.
3. Bang For Your Buck Exercise
These are a great opinion as you can get a lot done in a short space of time and it is easy to use your body weight as resistance. Just like the press up described in point one, exercises that load the body and cause it to work harder due to increased weights are very effective for fat loss, insulin health and elevating mood. You could try squats, step ups, walking lunges and even walking up the stairs with a vacuum cleaner could be considered a bang for your buck resistance exercise. Use what you have at hand – that way you’ll be more likely to include it in your day.
Top Tips For Resistance Training
- Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise programme especially if you have a health condition such as diabetes.
- Start slowly and work at your own pace. Injuries are common for those who have been inactive and try to do too much too quickly.
- If in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a professional – resistance training and exercise can be challenging to master if you are unsure of what you are doing.
- Focus on engaging the muscle and making it do the work rather than using gravity – again, this is where even one session with a fitness professional can be worth its weight in gold.
- There are so many benefits to resistance or weight training in addition to helping manage diabetes, so don’t be afraid to try it out. The myths around getting bulky and developing too much muscle are just that – myths. Its really is effective for reducing excess fat and having a positive effect on all areas of a person’s health.
- Special equipment is not necessary – a good pair of exercise shoes, comfortable exercise clothing, a clear, safe space your desire to train and some general household items can work wonders. Try pumpkins, socks filled with sand, water bottles, milk containers, cans or your own body weight.s