Too sweet?

Old Age Man with Strength Training

If you are staying active by focusing on aerobic exercise, you may not be reaping all the benefits of an effective type 2 diabetes exercise plan. Aerobic exercise has amazing benefits — it can improve heart health and lower your risk for heart attack or stroke. But strengthening your muscles is another important part of staying healthy when you have type 2 diabetes.

If you are staying active by focusing on aerobic exercise, you may not be reaping all the benefits of an effective type 2 diabetes exercise plan. Aerobic exercise has amazing benefits — it can improve heart health and lower your risk for heart attack or stroke. But strengthening your muscles is another important part of staying healthy when you have type 2 diabetes.

Precautions:

Here are some basic guidelines and safety precautions for the person with diabetes who wants to start a weight-training programme:

Talk with your healthcare professional before starting a weight-training programme and consult with him or her if any problems arise with your diabetes control.

Start out using low weights and higher reps, while concentrating on your form.

It’s a good idea to work with a personal trainer for a few sessions to help tailor your programme to your needs and to make sure you are doing it right.

Do not hold your breath when you lift weights; this raises blood pressure. Avoid doing an exercise that causes pain. Any exercise that causes pain in a joint or a sharp or shooting pain should be avoided.

When you exercise with weights or other forms of resistance, it can be especially helpful for controlling blood sugar levels. “A lot of the resistance training actually improves insulin sensitivity,” says Dawn Sherr, RD, a certified diabetes educator with the American Association of Diabetes Educators. “Your blood sugar may not be as elevated if you work the muscles more. Our body stores carbohydrates as glycogen in muscles and liver. Weight training increases your metabolism—even after you have finished with your workout. A faster metabolism not only helps you burn more calories, it helps insulin work well, too.  Our body stores carbohydrates as glycogen in muscles and liver. Weight training increases your metabolism—even after you have finished with your workout. A faster metabolism not only helps you burn more calories, it helps insulin work well, too.

Aerobic exercise:

Walk, jog, on the treadmill or outdoors for 30 minutes at low -moderate intensity. Intensity would be in the range 60 per cent to 70 per cent of maximum heart rate or at a pace at which you can still talk easily.

Swimming and cycling are fine for aerobic conditioning, but you cent of the advantage of the bone building that you do with impact exercise.

Generic, step and group aerobics classes are excellent.

Weight Training:
The individual exercises are not that critical, but you need to work all of the major muscle groups such as legs, arms, shoulders, back, chest, abdomen and hip.

The reason for this is that the more muscle you exercise and build, the more depots for glucose disposal and storage you create. Do 8 to 10 exercises including 2 – 3 sets of 15 – 20 repetitions in each set. Adjust the load so that you can get through a complete set and the final repetition, say number 15, is getting a little harder to do.

Warm up and cool down before and after a workout respectively is mandatory. If you are doing weights and cardio on the same day, try doing the weights first as it will help lowering the blood sugar level and also help burn more fat as fuel.

If you have diabetes, strength training can improve your quality of life by allowing you to continue to perform everyday activities such as walking, lifting, and climbing stairs as you get older.

Benefits of Strength Training:

  • If you have diabetes, research has shown that strength training can:
  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • Improve glucose tolerance
  • Help you lose weight
  • Lower your risk for heart disease

Weight training uses stored glycogen as a source of energy, thus reducing the blood sugar level. This aspect may be particularly important as we age and muscle mass has a tendency to decline. “The best thing to do is starts low,” Sherr says. “You can gradually increase the intensity and reach your goals.”