When discussing the multitude of benefits that resistance training has on the human body, it’s not hard to realize that this style of exercise really is the magic solution to a vast number of different ailments. We’re all very aware that strength training can work miracles for accelerating weight loss, improving sport performance, or simply just a way to look and feel better. But what if you are struggling with a more serious issue, like controlling or even preventing disease-would resistance training be able to help in any way with something like that? We’re glad you asked.
Take diabetes for example. In one way or another, we all know someone with this disease-some of us have to look no further than within our own family tree. And yet, for as common as diabetes is to us, must people don’t always understand just how incendiary it is, mainly because it takes a back seat to cancer in the headlines. Nevertheless, here are a few quick facts about diabetes that illustrate just how grave a problem this disease is in America (Source: American Diabetes Association):
In addition to the dozens of benefits that resistance training has on the body, lifting weights also is a miracle cure for someone with diabetes too. When a person has diabetes (whether it’s type I or II), their hormone insulin, which acts in essence as the “key” that “unlocks” our cells to allow glucose molecules in the blood stream after meals to enter and be used as energy for the cells, isn’t working properly. This problem can be caused by a genetic disorder where the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin (Type I diabetes), or it can be caused by a lifetime of eating bad foods to the point where the body becomes desensitized to having glucose in the blood stream, and therefore does not activate insulin as it should (Type II diabetes). Exercise, and specifically resistance training, helps correct this issue by creating what is called “an insulin-like effect” in the cells. Basically, after a bout of training, the cells are starved for glucose because it was all used up during the workout. As a result, the glucose receptors on the cell membranes are opened up and ready to receive any molecules that should float by. This phenomenon does wonders for controlling and stabilizing blood glucose levels in those who chronically strength train.
Furthermore, not only does strength training control blood glucose levels in healthy individuals, numerous studies have even shown that weight training can even reverse high blood glucose levels in those people who might already have diabetes, especially if they have Type II.
Once again, it seems there’s nothing strength training can’t overcome! Even one of the country’s top ten killers isn’t safe when regular strength training is employed. If you or someone you know and love is currently having to deal with this, sometimes shockingly terrible disease, we strongly urge you to get on a program immediately. Life, being too short as it is already, shouldn't have to be impaired in any way, especially when the solution is something as easy as picking up a weight and putting it down J.
Joe Gernetzke CSCS