Diabetes and Strength Training

There are two types of Diabetes. Type 1 diabetes (sometimes called Juvenile Diabetes) is characterized by the bodies inability to produce insulin. Type 2 Diabetes (adult onset) is characterized by the body either not producing enough insulin or not responding to the insulin in the bloodstream.

Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that removes glucose (broken-down sugars) from the bloodstream and deposits it into working tissue. In T1D, blood glucose levels rise because there is no insulin to get the sugars into the muscles/liver. In T2D, blood insulin levels rise because the receptors don’t recognize that there is insulin present and again, blood glucose levels rise.

Here’s the scary part: we don’t know what causes diabetes. It could be genetic, it could be diet, it could be lifestyle. (makes you want to mind your P’s and Q’s, doesn’t it?)

Now here’s the “good” part: Exercise, specifically, strength training can help you manage your blood sugar levels. When muscles contract, they activate a protein that helps transport glucose into the muscles. Muscle contraction mediated uptake of glucose doesn’t stop as soon as you finish lifting, either. It stays elevated for a couple hours afterward. Insulin sensitivity is enhanced by strength training (meaning you need to produce less insulin to get a response) and obviously, blood sugar levels go down.

One more reason to start training at Vertex!

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