Let’s cut to the chase: If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, strength training is one of the best things you can do for your body. The American Diabetes Association recommends people with type 2 diabetes start a strength-training program as a significant tool for managing your blood sugar and putting you in control of your life.
Directly speaking, strength training improves diabetes conditions because moving your body makes your cells more sensitive to insulin. And the indirect benefits of strength training in diabetes patients include losing fat, improving balance and blood flow, and maintaining a positive, healthy mindset.
Diabetes is marked in part by insulin resistance. Strength training increases your cells’ insulin sensitivity. It’s as easy as that.
On top of that, muscles that go through strength training have improved glucose storage capacity. They can take more glucose out of your blood, lowering your overall blood sugar levels.
And the hits just keep on coming:
- The simple act of strength training immediately burns through blood sugar, and quickly too.
- Added muscle mass speeds up your metabolism, because muscles are one of the few tissues in your body that continue to burn calories even while you rest.
- Through the activity itself as well as the improved metabolism that results, strength training promotes weight loss—which can go a long way toward improved A1C levels.
- Strength training is especially effective for reducing abdominal fat, a major factor in insulin resistance and sugar management.
The Diabetes Lifestyle
Diabetes is a disease that requires a long-term commitment to your body in order to stay healthy. That means establishing a strength-training routine that is both effective and maintainable for the long-term.
Aerobic exercise is good for diabetes patients, too. But unfortunately, diabetes can severely limit your ability to perform enough aerobic exercise to reap the benefits. A 30-minute walk may be out of the question.
Strength and resistance training can be just as beneficial for diabetes patients—if not more so. But you need to know what you’re doing and where to start.
This is why working with a personal trainer is so important. A personal trainer will help develop and guide you through a personalized strength-training regimen that is right for your body as it deals with diabetes. The right personal trainer-guided regimen will
- introduce your body to effective strength training while mitigating the risk of injury.
- inspire you to start a routine in an effective way, at a manageable pace.
- encourage you to stick with your routine consistently.
- adapt and vary your routine to keep your mind and body engaged, and to continue your progress.
- provide you with physical and mental empowerment while tackling a disease that makes so many people feel out of control.