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Diabetes Health Center

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Is it OK to Strength Train If I Have Diabetes?

Strength training is one of the best things you can do for your body. It's a key part of any fitness plan.

Don't belong to a gym with weight machines? No problem! You can use hand-held weights, resistance bands, or even your own body weight to build muscle.

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It's never too late to start. As you age, strength training (also called resistance training), can help you keep doing everyday activities such as walking, lifting things, and climbing stairs. Plus, it's good for your bones.

Benefits

For people with diabetes, strength training helps the body :

Studies show that it's as good as aerobic exercise at boosting how well your body uses insulin. (Also doing aerobic exercise may be even better.)

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with type 2 diabetes start a strength training program to help with blood sugar control.

Let's Get Started!

If you're not active now, check in with your doctor first. Ask if there are any moves you should avoid.

It's a good idea to work with a certified fitness instructor or trainer, so you learn the right way to do each exercise.

Your strength training program should work your whole body two to three times a week. Set up your schedule so that you work different muscle groups on different days, or do a longer workout less often.

Don't work the same muscle groups 2 days in a row. Give your muscles a chance to recover and get stronger!

When you get started, set yourself up for success with a moderate schedule. Do each move 10-15 times (one set) up to three times a week.

Once you get used to that, you can gradually do more, until you're doing three sets of 10-15 repetitions up to three times a week.

Always warm up before you exercise. Brisk walking is a good way to do that. When you're done strength training, do a series of stretches, holding each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds, to end your workout.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on February 12, 2015

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