Insulin is a vital factor affecting your body, as it facilities the movement of sugar into your cells, promotes muscle synthesis, and spurs cell regeneration. However, too high or too low levels of insulin are both not ideal, especially if you’re diabetic. One way to manage this is through exercise to increase insulin sensitivity. Here are 3 exercises that can help.
Walking More and Faster
You may be wondering why regular walking is on this list, but the benefits of taking more steps every day cannot be undermined.
According to a recent study, periodically breaking up your sedentary periods with some light walking effectively improves 24-hour glucose levels and insulin sensitivity in those with type 2 diabetes better than structured exercise.
Another study conducted on older adults with diabetes showed that their fitness and diabetes control improved by “picking up the pace”, i.e. walking 10% faster than their original speed for half an hour three days a week.
So when you’re heading home from school or work, try alighting a bus a stop or two earlier and brisk walk the remainder of the journey to get more steps in!
Through both insulin-dependent uptake and non-insulin-dependent glucose uptake, strength training can improve your body’s insulin sensitivity. Insulin helps serve as a “transportation tool” to facilitate the movement of the sugar in your bloodstream up to your muscles, but did you know that this can also be carried out by muscle contractions?
What this means is that when you incorporate activities like weightlifting and resistance bands into your workout routine, you’ll be enhancing your insulin sensitivity.
For example, a study of overweight men found that when participants performed resistance training over 3 months, their insulin sensitivity increased, despite other variables like weight loss.
If you’ve never done strength training before, ease into it with some exercises that utilize the weight of your body, such as push-ups or sit-ups. After you’ve gotten the hang of it, you can start easing into lifting weights at the gym through weighted squats, etc.
Aerobic exercises are a great way to improve your insulin sensitivity when coupled with strength and resistance training.
The two work well together as resistance training builds muscle, while aerobic activities tend to burn more calories and glucose.
Several studies have highlighted the benefits of incorporating aerobics into your workout routine. In a study on young adult women aged 18 to 35, both half a year of resistance training and half a year of aerobic training three times a week improved their glucose use in the body.
During and after your longer workouts, it’s important to measure your blood sugar regularly to ensure that it doesn’t drop too low and increase suddenly.
Hence, make sure you have your blood glucose meter on hand. You can check out our handy starter kit which includes a Bluetooth version of the meter, along with lancets, test strips, and more.
With OKRA’s subscription service, you also don’t have to worry about running out of test strips again. Check out our refill kits that will last you 1-2 months depending on your usage!