Prevent or Manage Type 2 Diabetes with Movement

overweight woman running for fitness to manage diabetes

Yesterday you met with your doctor to discuss your recent blood work. He informs you that everything checks out okay despite having some weight to lose, but he softly reveals that your blood glucose levels are in the pre-diabetic range. It just got real. Worry begins to sink in and you think how could this be? Sure, I’m a little over weight, but type 2 diabetes, me?

Unfortunately type 2 diabetes is far from a rare occurrence these days.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2007, almost 24 million Americans had diabetes, with one-quarter of those, or six million individuals, undiagnosed. Yes, many folks are living with the disease and do not even know they have it. Type 2 diabetes isn’t something you would wish on anyone. Once you have it, your life changes forever. Constant monitoring of your blood glucose levels becomes paramount and the potential complications are scary increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke, vision loss, and amputation.

The cornerstone of managing your blood glucose levels is rooted in your nutrition; however movement can make a huge impact. If you are on the verge of diabetes or looking for better ways to control your diabetes with movement here are a few proven strategies for you.

  1.  Start Strength Training. We already know that strength training protects bone health, muscle mass and keeps the weight off, but it’s also a prime driver in controlling and preventing type two diabetes. Strength training prevents diabetes by improving muscle quality and whole-body insulin sensitivity. Start with lighter weights and functional body weight movements focused on training all your muscle groups.
  2.  Implement HIIT Training. HIIT can significantly improve and help manage insulin sensitivity, especially if your nutrition is on point. In a two week study, participants performed 6 individualized training sessions of HIIT which included 4 rounds of 30 seconds of work at 100% of their estimated max workload followed by 4 minutes of active rest. Blood glucose was immediately reduced and HIIT improved the homeostatic model of insulin resistance. That’s only two minutes of total work excluding proper warm up, rest periods and cool down.  You may also apply this method to any aerobic based exercise such as running, biking or rowing.
  3.  Stand Up Whenever Possible. Moving for one hour a day isn’t enough to keep diabetes away especially if your day is confined to an office chair. Those with the greatest sedentary time compared to those with the lowest were associated with over a 100% increased risk in developing diabetes. Find a way to stand up throughout your day and don’t let your chair define your metabolic profile.