Strength Training Exercises and Diabetes Management

Diabetes Care|May.13, 2019


When it comes to exercise and diabetes, there's a plethora of physical activities to choose from. Brisk walks, yoga or zumba, there's something for everyone. However, strength training can kick-start a new chapter in your fitness routine.

Strength training exercises are helpful tools for diabetes management. Consisting of weight-lifting regimens that build your muscles, strengthening exercises are critical to a well-rounded fitness programme and offer unique benefits for people with diabetes.

Reaping The Rewards of Weight Training

Exercise is important for everyone, but even more so for people with diabetes because exercise improves insulin sensitivity so your muscle cells are better able to use any available insulin to take up glucose during and after activity.

Working out with weights also presents other health benefits: It strengthens the bones, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, helps with weight loss and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Diabetes Association. And research from the University of Michigan says that white muscle — the kind you get from lifting weights and resistance training — helps keep your blood sugar in check.

What to Know Before You Begin

Be sure to check with your doctor before starting strength training exercises. After their approval, you can practice simple workouts like the ones mentioned below at home with small dumbbells or without equipment. Do these two or three days per week, and perform eight to 10 weight exercises per session and exercise with low-to-moderate intensity. You can do eight to 12 repetitions with heavier weights. Remember to rest two or three minutes between each set.

These are just some of the exercises you can do, and how you can do them:

Wall Push-Ups

  • Stand facing a wall. Experiment with the distance to determine the right difficulty for you. For intensity, closer is less intense, and farther is more intense.
  • Place your palms flat against the wall. Bend your elbows to lower your chest toward the wall, keeping your body straight in a strong plank position.
  • Slowly straighten your arms to return to the starting position.

Side Raises

  • Sit with your hands at your sides with dumbbells in each hand.
  • Raise both arms to the side, elbows bent slightly, until they reach shoulder height in a "T" shape.
  • Lower arms back down.

Chair Raises

  • Sit near the front of a secure chair. If it's on casters, be sure they're locked.
  • Cross your arms over your chest and lean back.
  • Move your upper body forward to sit up straight, straighten your arms in front of you and stand up.
  • Return to sitting.

Tricep Extensions

  • With a weight in one hand, bring your arm above your head so your elbow is pointing to the ceiling, with the weight in your hand pointed down at the floor behind your back.
  • Use your other hand to hold your arm in place to protect your elbow through the movement.
  • Straighten your arm, raising the weight over your head. Return back down.
  • Repeat with the other arm.

Bicep Curls

  • Hold a weight in each hand, arms at your sides and palms facing in.
  • Bend one arm to bring the weight to your shoulder, palm facing you.
  • Return down and repeat with the other arm.

Follow These Common Workout Rules

Focus on the form and maintain proper posture, even if you have to use lighter weights. Exhale while lifting and inhale while lowering the weights during each rep. You can add a variety of strength training exercises to your routine to work out different muscle groups. Simple changes in your life can deliver magnificent results. Strength training exercises don't just increase your overall physical strength, they can also help you manage your diabetes better.


Disclaimer: This publication/article/editorial is meant for awareness/educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any products. Please consult your doctor/healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.