Walking, biking, lifting, and other movement can help you stop prediabetes. And the exercise benefit is separate from weight loss, which also helps prevent type 2 diabetes. If your goal is to halt or even reverse prediabetes, give your exercise routine a 3-prong approach. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends the following...
- Engage in cardiovascular (aka aerobic) exercise. Swimming, biking, jogging, fast walking and other aerobic exercise lessens insulin resistance -- a hallmark of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes -- with every bout of exercise. Regular exercise improves blood glucose control, insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and cardiovascular risk.
When possible, exercise daily to enhance insulin action. Try not to allow more than 2 days between exercise sessions.
- Lift weights. Any kind of resistance exercise will do, including using elastic bands or lifting your body weight in push ups and other exercises. Resistance training improves blood glucose control, insulin sensitivity, lean body mass, bone density, strength, physical function, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
We store carbohydrate after eating in our muscles, and resistance training builds more muscle. That gives us more storage capacity. It’s similar to catching rain in a bucket. You’ll be able to collect more rain with a large bucket than with a small bucket. Each week, aim to engage in 2 to 3 sessions of resistance exercise on nonconsecutive days.
- Stop sitting so much. Long periods of sedentary behavior are associated with increased risks for type 2 diabetes and poorer blood glucose control, as well as a host of other chronic illnesses.
The ADA recommends breaking up long periods of sitting with 3 minutes of light activity every half hour. Be creative to get active. Try toe raises, torso twists, leg lifts, walking while talking on the phone – anything that gets your muscles moving.
By Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND, author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.