Insulin is a hormone that is made to store glucose after eating. This is a good thing because the cells need sugar and store it for later use. Plus, it is not healthy for your arteries to have an abundance of sugar circulating unnecessarily; this effect can damage the arteries and lead to plaque build up and many subsequent problems.
Now, most diabetics are on the medicine metformin and/or insulin shots. This is the fast and relatively reliable way, but it is also expensive and invasive. What if there was another way? Would you at least consider it?
Resistance training (e.g. weight training) is effective for controlling sugars (reducing A1C) in people who have Type 2 diabetes. It has actually be scientifically shown to produce insulin-like effects in people with Type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, the amount and intensity of resistance training needed to produce maximum benefit is currently undetermined, but it is known that even one short bout (e.g. 10 minutes) can produce effects. They may not yet be significant effects, but it is at least working. Like everything else, the more you do it, the better the potential for positive results.
For those of you who have or know someone who has Type 1 diabetes, here is what the literature shows: few randomized-control trials have been conducted. The results are even less defined for this population. There is no significant effect on A1C levels; however, the few studies that have been conducted have shown that those with Type 1 diabetes require LOWER DOSES after incorporating resistance training into their lives. So whatever dose you currently take, imagine lowering it.
These insulin-like effects from resistance training have been shown to last up to 72 hours. The advice is to play it safe and perform resistance training every other day (every 48 hours). So, basically do it Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Aside from helping to control your sugar levels, resistance training also has the potential to increase your muscle mass, which reduces your progression of muscle loss (atrophy); it also keeps the neuromuscular junction (the point where the muscle and nerve meet) stimulated with the goal of delaying neuropathy as a result of diabetes. Not only does this enhance quality of life, but the potential for falling goes down because you can feel your feet.
As always, PLEASE BE SURE TO CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY PHYSICAL ACTIVITY OR SPECIFIC EXERCISE PROGRAM. Everyone has limitations. Make sure you know yours before engaging in any physical activity.
Central PA Physician's Group
The place to get YOU better and living life on YOUR terms again