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Weight Training to combat diabetes

Diabetes is on the rise again. According to the World Health Organization, in 2016 alone, 16 million deaths were caused by diabetes. And in 2012, 2.2 million deaths worldwide were caused by complications arising out of high blood sugar. A sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, genetics and various health conditions can cause irregularities in the way human body processes blood sugar, triggering Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes.

Regular exercise has always been known to be useful while dealing with diabetes. But in recent years, research has shown that strength training, weight training or resistance training when combined with cardio exercises, is an excellent way to combat diabetes.

Benefits of weight-training for a diabetes patient

According to various researches, strength training helps the body burn glucose better without the need for additional insulin to be produced by the pancreas or injected through a pump. Further, various complications arising out of diabetes are also effectively resolved through strength training. Some of them are:

  • Helps body respond better to insulin

  • Prevent the progression from Type-1 to Type-2 diabetes

  • Helps the person reduce weight and unwanted body fat

  • Lower their risk for heart disease

  • Reduce bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol

  • Improves bone mass, which helps sustain an exercise program

  • Prevents atrophy of muscles, or age-related disuse and loss of muscle

So how does a diabetes patient go about incorporating weight-training in his/her daily schedule?

Consult your Doctor first

Before starting a weight-lifting program, consult your doctor first. He/she will assess you for age, weight, health conditions and genetic disorders before certifying you OK for such a program. Thereafter, from time to time, you must get your blood sugar levels checked through a diagnostic laboratory or self-help instruments.

The doctor will go through these readings and assess your diet plan to see if any changes must be made. Things like what to eat and when to eat, before or during an exercise. If there are huge drops in glucose levels during an exercise schedule, he/she may even recommend you eat a small snack. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions all through a weight-training regimen.

Engage an Experienced Trainer

The internet is flooded with information on what kind of weight-training exercises a patient of diabetes can undertake. However, merely following such information can be dangerous. It can expose you to the risk of injury, muscle spasms, sprains, ligament tears, muscle pulls and in worse case a fracture too.

The trainer will assess your body type (lean/regular/bulky) to understand muscle mass and bone density. He/she may even recommend you undergo a bone-density test. Thereafter, depending on your age, the extent of your diabetes, previous experience or awareness about weight training, he or she will design a weight-lifting program that is customized to you.

The program will factor

  • The right schedules: How many times a week to exercise and for how long

  • The right exercises: Not all weight-lifting exercises are the same, so he/she will pick and choose what you need

  • The right way: It’s important to exercise or lift weights in the right way, with the right breathing techniques. Else, the program will not yield good results

  • The right reps: How many repetitions for every exercise and how much rest between them, or between exercises

  • The right mix: Cardio exercises are equally important, so he/she will include the best ones for you

  • The right attire: The right clothing and shoes to be worn will prevent injuries or discomfort and make the experience worthwhile

  • Supervision: The trainer will supervise you throughout to reduce the risk of injury and gain best results

  • Progression: Based on how you are doing, the Trainer will upgrade your program. This has long-term benefits.


Weight-training offers hope to people battling diabetes and its complications all the time. To get the best results it must be done correctly, or you may not get the benefit of training and actually injure yourself. A Personal Trainer, who is qualified and experienced, is aware of this. He/she will design a program that can eliminate diabetes completely from your life, and put you on the path of good health.

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