Seven Do’s of Weight Training with Diabetes
Weight training also helps people lose fat, increase muscle tone and strength, and improve bone density.
Anyone starting a weight-lifting program should check with their doctor first – especially those who have recently had a heart attack or heart surgery (pacemaker, bypass) or who have high blood pressure.
Individuals using insulin will need to increase glucose monitoring and time their workouts relative to their meals and rapid-acting insulin doses. Eventually, because resistance training increases BMR, long-acting insulin doses might need adjusting as well.
Seven Do’s of Lifting Weights
Exercise consistency is important for balancing blood sugar levels.
- To reap health benefits and avoid injury, learn proper weight training techniques. It is wise to work with a weight training specialist such as a fitness coach, physical therapist or athletic trainer. They will help you avoid strains, sprains, fractures and other injuries caused by lifting with improper form.
- Be sure to warm up with five or 10 minutes of aerobic activity before lifting. Cold muscles are more injury-prone than warm ones. Stop any exercise that causes pain and wait a few days before trying it again.
- Wear shoes with good traction. They will prevent you from slipping as you lift.
- Begin by using weights you can comfortably lift 12 to 15 times, increasing the weight as you gain strength. Lift in a controlled, unhurried manner, and do not overdo it. Each set of exercises completed to the point of fatigue is plenty for most of us.
- It is important to work all the major muscle groups: legs, back, abdominal, shoulders, arms and chest. Working opposing muscles, such as those at the front and back of the shoulder, keeps our muscles in balance.
- Although there is a tendency to hold your breath when lifting, it is important to breathe out as you lift a weight and breathe in when lowering it. Holding your breath during weight training can raise blood pressure.
- Muscle groups need a day of rest between workouts. You might exercise all your muscle groups in single sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, for example. Another option is to work legs and back on Monday, your arms and shoulders on Tuesday, and so on.
People using insulin may want to design two or three separate workouts, each focusing on different muscle groups, so they can determine how each workout affects their glucose level.