Type 2 diabetes (T2D) affects over 400 million people around the world. It makes up 90% of all cases of diabetes. There are many different treatments and ways to prevent complications from T2D. Examples include changing your lifestyle by eating a healthy diet and getting more physical activity in your daily life.
Exercise as preventative medicine
We know that exercise can improve blood sugar control in people with T2D. There is a lot of research on the impact of aerobic/cardio activity (such as running or swimming) on health. Recently, resistance training has become more popular because of its ability to improve muscle strength. Resistance training also plays a role in health and disease.
What is resistance training?
Resistance training (also called strength training) helps make you stronger. With strength training, you move your body against some type of resistance, such as your body weight or free weights. Examples include squats, push-ups, exercises with resistance bands, and lifting weights. It is an effective way to manage T2D and for many, it can be a great alternative to aerobic training. This is because aerobic training may be more difficult for people with certain complications linked to T2D, such as obesity, osteoarthritis, and other physical disabilities.
Resistance training and blood sugar levels
This study looked at over 14 trials with 668 participants. Researchers found that this type of exercise may be an effective way to improve blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes. This is because resistance training helps strengthen muscles, which in turn, can improve glycemic control. Overall, resistance training was proven to help people control their blood sugar levels and improve body fat percentage for those with T2D. However, it is still unproven and unknown if resistance training can help delay or prevent type 2 diabetes in people at risk of T2D.