Did you know diabetes can independently result in loss of muscular strength and function?
The good news is we can minimise this by participating in muscle strengthening exercises (or resistance training) on 2-3 days per week. Other benefits of building muscle include improved body composition, bone health, mental health, overall physical function, insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, cholesterol, cardiovascular health, and may improve blood glucose management. So, there’s definitively more to it than looking good at the beach in Summer!
But getting into resistance training can be daunting and foreign to many of us! And even if we’ve started, it’s hard to know if we’re doing it right!! Whether you want to go to the gym or stay at home, there are some simple rules to get started.
There’s no need to spend heaps of time warming up (we will talk more about warms ups in a future blog!). Simply completing a few repetitions of the exercise you’re about to do with light weights (or no weights) is enough.
Focus on movements that involve multiple joints and big muscle groups. For example, squats, step ups, bench press, rows, pull up/downs, push ups (can use a bench or wall), deadlifts. If you need help with what exercises to do, you may like to visit an exercise physiologist (see below).
Am I doing it right?
Don’t get too caught up with it looking pretty – there’s no such thing as perfect form! We all come in different shapes and sizes, meaning it will look different for everyone. However, if you would like some guidance, Perth Physical Activity and Diabetes Institute can help.
How many and how heavy?
The easiest way to navigate this is to choose a weight or resistance that you can do 10-15 repetitions with. Make sure the last few repetitions are challenging though! Choose 5 or 6 exercises and complete 1-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions with about 2 minutes recovery in between sets.
Heavier resistance training has been shown to yield greater benefits so once you get the hang of it, try increase the weight or resistance and reduce the number of repetitions down to 6-8. At this point you may also want to increase the number of exercises you’re doing from 5-6 to 8-10. Once you get REALLY good, you may benefit from specific strength testing which can really fine tune your resistance training and maximise benefits to health and performance.
As always, doing any form of resistance training is better than doing none at all! So, get out there and get strong!
Diabetes WA offer a unique service, Perth Physical Activity and Diabetes Institute (PPADI) which aims to help those living with diabetes to get active. The service is run by a dual qualified exercise physiologist and diabetes educator who can guide your “huff and puff” and strength exercise with special consideration of your diabetes and other related conditions.
Visit www.perthpadi.com for more information.