Can Pumping Iron Reduce High Blood Sugar?

Lifting weights – Whether you are hefting light dumbbells in your living room or using weight machines at the gym – can significantly reduce high blood sugar, research shows.


For instance – In a six-month study of 36 people ages 60 – 80, Australian researchers found that those who ate a healthy diet and followed a weight lifting program saw blood sugar fall three times further than those who simply dieted. Plus, they lost body fat. Their 3-day-a-week program was quick and easy: Nine exercises that targeted the major muscles in the upper and lower body, with 8 to 10 repetitions of each exercise.


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In another study by American researchers, overweight people with high blood sugar improved their glucose levels when they took part in a simple weight-training program. After 16 weeks, those who pumped iron had better blood sugar control than those who did not.

Resistance training helps cells throughout your body become more sensitive to insulin, the vital hormone needed for glucose to enter cells. But that’s not all, since other compounds can prompt the same response. One, called, Glut-4, binds to the cell membrane and then helps glucose into muscle cells. People with high blood sugar have suboptimal levels of glucose transporters like Glut-4. Weight training can increase their number, helping muscles absorb sugar and remove sugar from the blood.

Research also shows that strength training promotes heart health in people with high blood sugar. This is an important benefit because high blood sugar can double or quadruple the risk of heart disease, You’re never too old to start pumping iron. Miriam E. Nelson Ph.D., director of the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston and author of Strong Women Stay Slim and Strong Women Stay Young, has worked with women in their nineties.

We all lose muscle with age, and rebuilding it with weight training is critical for almost everyone over the age of 35. All it takes is two or three at-home sessions a week. You can even break up the sessions into smaller workouts. Best of all, you will see dramatic changes in your body in about a month, and most women get a big energy boost right away.

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