For a long time, doctors advised people with diabetes against weight training. They believed that it made it worse but research now shows that it could help! The Life Science Institute researchers at the University of Michigan have found that resistance training helps to strengthen the white muscle, which helps to lower the blood sugar.
Why Did Doctors Believe the Opposite?
Before the study, there was the belief that the growth of white muscle would lead to more reliance on glucose. This, in turn, would keep the blood sugar levels high. Since there is more need for the energy, the body will release more of the insulin to try and keep it in check. This would make diabetes worse since there would be too much in the body.
Too much insulin causes a problem for the body. The cells cannot cope with the amount that is around the body and stops using it. As the cells stop being able to use the insulin, the blood sugar levels raise and diabetes becomes an issue.
The Difference Between Red and White Muscle
White muscle is developed during resistance training and sprint sessions while red muscle is developed during most cardio sessions. The red muscles use the mitochondria instead of glucose to help fuel the body, so not as much of the glucose is used up. When it comes to sprint training, around 20 times of the amount used in long distance running is used. While it may promote more insulin and glucose, it uses a larger amount, which helps to decrease the blood sugar levels.
The same happens with weight training. The muscles need the glucose to be able to expand and contract, so more is being used during the sessions.
Adding Weight Training to Your Workout
It is worth talking to your doctor about adding weight training to your workout to help control your diabetes and lower your blood sugar. The report from the Life Sciences Institute is still to be released so your doctor may not have heard of it yet. Avoid adding too much weight training at first to avoid injury. Let your body build up the strength to gain all the benefits.
Resistance training could really help to lower your blood sugar. However, it needs to be used with a healthy diet—it isn’t an excuse to eat anything you want!