Why Is Exercise Necessary?
Exercise is very Important, especially for the person with diabetes, or for anyone who doesn’t want to develop diabetes, because it reduces insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the leading cause of diabetes. Exercise also helps control blood sugar, decreases insulin levels and lowers blood pressure.
What Forms of Exercise Should I do?
We recommend two forms of exercise. Burst training, also known as interval training, should be done 3 to 6 times a week. Moderate exercise, like walking, should be done after each meal or snack.
What Is Burst Training?
Burst training is a form of exercise where you exercise at 100% of intensity for 20-60 seconds alternating with periods of rest for 1-2 minutes. This should be repeated for a total of 10 times within a 20-minute period. It is up to nine times more effective than the standard cardio workout for reducing insulin resistance. Start out easy. Gradually increase the duration of high-intensity exercise as you build your strength and endurance. You will have increased fat burning for about 36 hours after each workout session. Mark your calendar for every other day to begin with. Additional benefit can be achieved by increasing your workouts up to six days a week.
What Kind of Exercise Do I Need to Do for Burst Training?
Any form of exercise will do. But the form of exercise you choose will be most effective if you choose one that involves the large muscle groups. This means using your legs! However, my favorite burst is hoeing in the garden. My wife understands and never complains when she looks out the window and sees me leaning on the hoe handle. Here’s a video showing low-impact burst training.
What Does Moderate Exercise After Meals Do for Me?
Moderate exercise after meals significantly lowers your blood sugar. This lowers your need for insulin, giving the pancreas some much needed rest. But it goes much deeper than that.
Blood sugar levels spike each time you eat a meal or snack. Any time you exercise, 14 times more glucose that gets put into the cells in relation to the amount of insulin that is in the blood. Your blood sugar continues to rise for 20 to 30 minutes following each meal or snack. Exercising during that time significantly lowers the height of the sugar spike. This, in turn, lowers the amount of insulin that you need which gives your pancreas rest and time to heal. Click here to learn more.
What Form of Exercise Do I Need to Do After Meals?
Any form of exercise will do. But walking is one of the best forms of exercise because it uses the large muscle groups and therefore, is more effective at lowering blood sugar and insulin demand. If you are unable to walk outside, walk in your house. One seminar participant was so determined to do her walking that she put her clean laundry that needed folding on her bed. After eating, she would walk to the bedroom, pick up a garment and walk down the hall folding it. When she was finished, she walked back to the bedroom, picked up another item and walked down the hallway folding it. By the time she had completed her 20 minutes of walking, she had folded her laundry! And when we saw her 6 months later, her Hemoglobin A1c had been reduced from over 12 to 5.8.
What About Someone with Physical Limitations?
Serious physical limitations may make you feel that you cannot exercise. For example, if you have bad knees, you might feel that you cannot exercise because of the ensuing knee pain. Instead, consider a form of exercise that will not stress your knees, like lying on the bed doing flutter kicks, or swimming laps in the pool.
Are There Any Other Benefits to Exercise?
People who exercise regularly have decreased blood pressure, decreased cardiovascular risk and increased circulation. It also builds muscle tone which means, if you are losing weight, you will lose fat, not muscle mass. And it reduces stress, cancer risk and improves quality of life.
The Bottom Line
Exercise lowers insulin resistance, blood sugar and insulin levels. We recommend that you:
- Do burst training 3 to 6 times a week.
- Do 20 minutes of moderate exercise, like walking, after every meal or snack.
Click here to learn more about the benefits of burst training.