To help combat Type 2 diabetes, one of the top things you want to be doing is looking to improve your insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity refers to how well your body responds to the carbohydrates you consume. If your body has a healthy sensitivity to insulin, you will move carbohydrates into your muscle cells, helping to build new lean muscle mass and prepare your body for future exercise.
Those who have reduced insulin sensitivity, on the other hand, tend to convert the carbs they eat to body fat stores very quickly; this means they usually end up gaining weight because of it. Additionally, they are more prone to fluctuations in their blood sugar levels, which as you already know, is not advantageous when it comes to managing Type 2 diabetes.
So which exercises should you include in your workout program to see optimal results? Here is your all-star line-up…
1. Burpees. Simply put, burpees are one of the best exercises you can perform in your workout routine. They are beneficial because not only do they get your heart rate up high, but they will also work your muscular strength.
On top of that, they are going to hit virtually every single muscle group in your body, helping you gain functional strength. Because they are intense, they are ideal for improving insulin sensitivity.
2. Squats. Next up on the list of top moves for improving insulin sensitivity is the squat. Squats are super as they allow you to lift more weight, thus challenging your body to a more substantial degree. You will build great strength when adding squats to your workout program.
Because squats also target the most massive muscles in the body – the lower body muscles of the quads, hamstrings, and glutes; this helps improve your insulin sensitivity and creates a higher demand for glucose. After doing a few sets of higher rep squats, say 8 to 12 reps per set, your body will be primed to transport glucose to these muscles to restore the depleted glycogen just used by your muscles.
3. Cardio Intervals. On the cardio side of things, contrary to what you may believe, steady state cardio does not do all that much to improve insulin sensitivity. While if you are not active at all and then add some constant state cardio training it can give you some benefits, but to reap maximum benefits regarding improving insulin sensitivity, you will want to focus on cardio intervals.
Going at an all-out pace for 30 to 60 seconds coupled with active rest periods is the absolute best way to improve your cardiovascular conditioning level while making your cells more sensitive to glucose. Do these just once or twice a week, and you will notice the difference.
4. Yoga. Finally, not all exercise to improve insulin sensitivity has to be intense. Yoga can also do the trick. As yoga helps you regulate your breathing and helps to combat stress (which can reduce insulin sensitivity), both of these are going to work in your favor.
Yoga is good news because it is an excellent exercise to do when you need a day or two off from the intense workout you are performing in the gym.
There you have the main exercises to try adding to your workout program to help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of both weight gain and Type 2 diabetes.