I keep a big glass of cold water on hand, and after a drink and walking around the room a few times to catch my breath, I go right back into a second set of repetitions as follows:
- 15 push ups against the third stair on my basement stairs
- 15 squats using the 20 pound dumb bells
- 10 more over the head presses with the 20 pound dumb bells
- 10 more knee to chest leg lifts on the tower of power
- 8 curls with the curl bar with about 60 pounds on it
I finish the glass of cold water, do a little more walking around to catch my breath and then usually do (1) more set of 10 or 15 push ups and one more set of 10 squats with the 20 pound dumb bells.
Sometimes I will take a rest for a while and then get up and do a final set of squats to exhaustion (to the point I can hardly do one more squat). I do this to prevent muscle memory setting in where in a sense your muscles have this whole exercise for diabetes thing figured out and it becomes routine for your body and your muscles. I like to TAKE MY MUSCLES BY SURPRISE SO TO SPEAK. I want to keep them on edge and open to new things and new challenges.
I try to take at least a one mile walk every day in addition to the weight resistance training, which I try to do every other day. It is TOUGH at first and it is TOUGH after being on vacation or away for a few days of sitting in a car or a plane traveling . Even then, I try to do the squats without weights as a minimum so as not to lose muscle tone. My Blood Glucose numbers IMPROVE when religiously doing this routine.
LINK to Weight Resistance Training and Insulin Receptors
Why is Exercise So Important In Diabetes?Exercise is critical in diabetes because exercise is your body’s cue that you need to absorb and use sugar, so without exercise (or strenuous occupational activity) there is no cue and the sugar just stays in your blood stream. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t stop absorbing sugar, it just keeps it in the blood after storing a whole lot as fat.
Specifically, exercise stimulates your muscles (which like to fed glucose) to produce more insulin receptors - including receptors that do not require insulin to transport sugar into the muscle. Thinking about this in terms of the “lock in the door” analogy I have used in previous articles, insulin fits into the insulin receptor like a key fits into the lock in a door. The key fits, turns and you pass through the door. Imagine insulin is the key, the insulin receptor is the lock and sugar is you - insulin fits into the receptor and sugar passes through the door. In diabetes it is as if someone stuck gum into the lock- the key no longer fits or functions properly. Now imagine if there was a way to make more doors - including some without locks! This is exactly what exercise, and especially resistance exercise, appears to do. Your body has the potential to make doors for glucose to be absorbed that do not require insulin to work - however exercise is the trigger for this process to occur.
What is Resistance Exercise?Resistance exercise goes by other names including strength training and generically as weight lifting. Weight training does not mean “body building” or that you are trying to “bulk up”.
There are other forms of resistance exercise or strength training that do not involve lifting weights per se. Swimming has both resistance and aerobic properties. Pilates is another form of strength building exercise that focuses primarily on the core abdominal muscles.
How is it Special in Diabetes?Weight training is special for a few reasons in diabetes. For one, it appears to more effective than aerobic exercise in increasing your basal metabolic rate (BMR) . Your BMR is essentially the number of calories you consume just while sitting. So assuming your caloric intake stays constant, raising your BMR leads to weight loss.
Additionally weight training seems more effective at increasing lean muscle mass as well as increasing strength . These may not sound like great benefits, however lean muscle mass is particularly insulin sensitive tissue, and therefore insulin sensitivity improves. Because glucose from your meals is absorbed predominantly by your muscle tissue, strength training is particularly good at improving elevated blood sugars following meals.
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