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Strength Training and Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you might want to add strength training to your exercise routine.

You may already know that aerobic exercises such as walking and swimming can help you lose weight, improve your heart health, and better control your blood sugar.

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Strength training is another type of exercise. Also known as resistance training, strength training usually involves lifting weights or using other equipment to build muscle. You can also use your own body weight, such as by doing pushups. Strength training can improve your quality of life as you age, so that you can keep doing everyday activities such as walking, lifting, and climbing stairs. Strength training is also good for your bones.

Diabetes and the 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

In scientific studies, strength training has been found to improve insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes to the same extent that aerobic exercise does. Extended periods of strength training improve blood sugar control as well as taking a diabetes drug. In fact, in people with diabetes, strength training in combination with aerobic exercise may be even better.

Before You Start Strength Training

Talk to your doctor before you start any exercise program. Your doctor can let you know what, if any, limitations you have.

Strength Training and Diabetes Guidelines

The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with type 2 diabetes start a strength training program to help with blood sugar control. The program can begin with a moderate schedule (one set of 10-15 repetitions with weights up to three times a week).

Once you get used to the moderate schedule, you can move on up to three sets of 10-15 repetitions with weights up to three times a week.

As with any type of exercise, always warm up before exercising, and then take time to cool down afterward.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on May 16, 2012

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Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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