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Preventing Prediabetes with Strength Training

Preventing Prediabetes with Strength Training

If you're among the one in three heavy adults at risk for diabetes, don't wait for weight loss to slash your odds of developing the Big D. Pretend you're an NFL player who's been slacking off (suspecting a contract might never get signed), and suddenly you need to shape up! Hoist dumbbells, stretch a resistance band, or just bust a couple of muscle-building moves on your bedroom floor (push-ups are perfect). Building some muscle can cut your odds of prediabetes (last step before the real thing), by 12% or more, before you've even lost a pound.

Muscle cells sip blood sugar all day long. Strength training increases how many muscle cells you have and how many mini energy factories are in each cell. Since these "factories" use blood sugar for fuel, the more factories you own, the lower your blood sugar.

Building more muscle isn't that big a deal. In fact, if you haven’t done resistance exercises in a while, you can increase muscle by more than 25% in 3 weeks by strength training just three times a week (every other day, with Sundays off). You can do that! And it can reduce your diabetes risk even more -- up to 30%. Wow! Just from doing a few push-ups and invisible chairs. (You know what chairs are: Slide your back down a wall till you're in a sitting position, knees at a 90-degree angle and heels under your knees. Gradually work up to holding that for 2 minutes.)

Eager to NOT get diabetes? Start working on those push-ups and invisible chairs.

Medically reviewed in October 2018.

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