Despite knowing the benefits of exercise, almost 50% of American adults aren’t active and 70% do not meet the CDC’s recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day. As we end November, I would like to honor National Diabetes Awareness Month by addressing the importance of diabetes and exercise.
1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes, which means they are on the road to developing full-blown diabetes. Worse yet, 90% of them don’t know they are at risk and are not taking steps to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes.
Type 2 diagnosis is on the rise. For those already diagnosed and looking for a clearer understanding of why exercise is so important, read on!
Ask yourself – Do you really want to spend the last 10-20 years of life marred with diabetic complications? Heck no! Instead, would you like to improve the overall quality of life as you age? Strength training will add numerous benefits to your health, improving the caliber of your life. And trust me, it is never too late to build muscle.
What’s good? We know that exercise lowers insulin resistance naturally plus it improves blood glucose levels. What many don’t realize is how strength training acts as a magical healing agent. Yup, you heard it here. I will explain more.
Our muscles store excess glucose (glycogen). Look at it this way: Your muscles are a like a gas tank. A gas tank storing the glucose from the food you eat. When you exercise, you use up that glycogen stored in your gas tank as energy and have room to put glucose back in. This is great! To become less insulin resistant, keep your gas tank growing (muscles), which means strength training regularly. That way, there is room for more glucose to enter.
This isn’t about body-builder size muscles. Lean muscles do the trick. In fact, even someone new to strength training, or resistance training, will benefit. After a strength training workout, our muscles continue to utilize the glucose as energy, and can require less insulin for up to 72 hours.
Sorry folks! Walking and line-dancing just won’t cut it. The American Diabetes Association now firmly recommends strength training, along with aerobic activity to help manage diabetes. You see, years ago diabetics were told that walking was enough in the form of exercise. Outdated now, along with the mindset of not needing to monitor blood sugars and merely avoiding sweets. It is time grasp the modern treatments in managing diabetes. Strength training is your natural magic elixir.
Confused by what is meant by strength training? Strength training (weight & resistance training = same thing) is basically any exercise that forces your muscles to contract under some form of resistance. The resistance can come from many things: dumbbells, resistance bands, machines, even your own body weight – as in squats and pull-ups, for example.
If you think you’re too old or too out of shape for strength training, think again. It is never too late to start. People have successfully started strength training in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s with positive results. The same goes for people who are overweight, inactive, and fatigued. Start slow and conservatively. There is definitely no such thing as being too old or too out of shape to benefit.
Resistance bands are the preferred strength training tool, as there’s less joint stress involved, with more core activation. You can easily achieve a full body muscle-building routine with a resistance band kit.
National Diabetes Awareness Month is as good a time as any to look at the importance of management and prevention of the epidemic that is spreading across our country. Diabetes is not an easy to disease to live with. Prevention and management is key. YOU are held accountable. Exercise is one of the MOST important tools you have to manage and prevent diabetes. You really can do it! If you need help, reach out. Email me and I will offer my expertise. I’m on your side and I would love to help you live a strong and full life!
Celebrate National Diabetes Awareness Month all year long, by spreading awareness.
How can you help spread the word?