Exercise and Diabetes: Weight Lifting
Weight lifting is part of a well-rounded exercise routine for people with type 2 diabetes. It helps build and strengthen muscles and leads to weight loss. (Muscles burn more calories than fat—even when you're not exercising.)
Another reason weight lifting is an essential part of a workout program for helping to manage type 2 diabetes is that it—as with other types of exercise—can help you manage your blood glucose levels and get them closer to your goal range.
According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, you should do strength training 3 times a week in addition to getting aerobic exercise.1 The combination of strength training and aerobic exercise packs a powerful punch.
Below are some additional benefits of weight lifting:
- Helps prevent diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease
- Improves balance and coordination
- Makes daily tasks easier to do (eg, carrying groceries)
Find out more reasons why exercise is so essential in our benefits of exercise article.
Joining a gym isn't necessary to get the full benefits of weight lifting. You can do strength training exercises in your own home. All you need is your own body weight as resistance and a set of 5- to 10-pound dumbbells. You can also use elastic bands (also called resistance bands).
Work with a personal trainer who can show you easy moves that are customized to fit your needs. A personal trainer can also give you tips on how to incorporate strength training into an exercise routine.
Keep in mind that lifting weights shouldn't cause pain—if you feel something's not right, stop the movement immediately and call your doctor. Also, in some cases, lifting weights can cause an increase in blood pressure, so if you already have high blood pressure, you may need to limit weight lifting exercises.
Have a conversation with your doctor before beginning an exercise program that includes weight lifting. Your doctor can give you suggestions on ways to incorporate strength training exercises when you have type 2 diabetes.