What I’ve Learned About Weightlifting With Type 2
When it comes to improving your diabetes care, there are several factors to consider. You may already be focused on weight loss, cardio exercises, watching your carbohydrate intake, and tracking your blood glucose readings. Additionally, you may be taking your medications as prescribed and paying attention to your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
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However, have you ever thought about incorporating weightlifting into your type 2 diabetes care? Although it may seem like just another task on your to-do list, weightlifting can actually provide a range of benefits. Research suggests that regular weightlifting, compared to steady-state cardio exercises like biking or walking, can help lower your blood sugar levels and reduce weight, particularly stubborn belly fat. It also aids in burning glucose, lowering cholesterol levels, and improving heart health and blood flow. These benefits can help prevent complications such as neuropathy and retinopathy.
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If you haven't yet committed to a weightlifting routine, don't worry. Here are some tips based on my own experience with weightlifting:
- Start with a warmup to get your heart rate up and prepare your muscles for exercise. Consider marching in place or engaging in easy stretching.
- Take it slow to avoid injuries. Focus on perfecting your form rather than aiming for a high number of repetitions. Quality over quantity is crucial. Doing fewer sets correctly is more effective.
- Find a routine that suits your preferences and body's needs. Some people prefer lifting weights four times a week, alternating between upper body and lower body exercises. Others choose to work their core every day. It's important to experiment with various workouts and listen to your body's response. Initially, you may experience some muscle soreness, but if you feel excessively fatigued, take a step back. Personally, I've found that two to three weightlifting sessions per week, each lasting for an hour, work best for me.
- Pay attention to your body. In my case, I suffered a knee injury and had to avoid exercises like squats and lunges. It's crucial to adapt your routine based on any physical limitations or injuries.
- Adjust your weights according to your abilities and progression. Women often underestimate their strength and lift lighter weights, while men tend to go too heavy. At the beginning, using 3- or 5-pound weights may be sufficient as you focus on mastering your form. As you become more confident, don't hesitate to increase the weight. The goal is to challenge your muscles and ensure they are properly exhausted. Repeatedly lifting a 2-pound weight may not provide the desired results.
- Take advantage of online resources. With the increase in exercise videos available during the pandemic, there are numerous options for weight loss instruction. Look for trainers who emphasize proper form and take the time to explain each exercise and its benefits.
- Stay hydrated throughout your weightlifting sessions. Weightlifting can be surprisingly strenuous and lead to significant sweating. Keep a water bottle nearby and stay hydrated. Additionally, monitor your blood sugar levels, as weightlifting burns glucose and may cause a risk of hypoglycemia.
- End your workout with a cooldown routine. Stretching at the conclusion of your workout can help prevent muscle soreness and lower your heart rate.
By incorporating weightlifting into your diabetes care, you can experience a range of benefits for your overall health and diabetes management.