There is renewed interest in resistance training for people that have type 2 diabetes. It is not just about aerobic (or cardio as people often refer to it) exercise any longer. More and more research is showing that performing resistance exercises two to three times per week can be just as beneficial as doing aerobic exercise for people with type 2 diabetes.
For at least the last couple of decades, or more, performing resistance training (hereafter referred to as RT) was considered taboo for many people with type 2 diabetes because of the potential risk of aggravating a preexisting blood pressure problem, thereby increasing all of the health risks associated with high blood pressure.To the contrary, RT in some form or another is now encouraged by The American College of Sports Medicine for patients with type 2 diabetes as long as their blood pressure is normal or they have high blood pressure that is under good control. In addition, it is assumed that the patient has the approval from their doctor to do RT and that there are no other contraindications.
In regards to the blood pressure, however, the key point to make here is that the blood pressure needs to be well controlled before engaging in RT. If the blood pressure is not well controlled that is when serious health problems are likely to arise.
In fact, it is well known by many healthcare professionals, that patients with controlled hypertension that properly perform RT on a regular basis can actually improve their resting and sub-maximal blood pressure as well as reduce some, or sometimes all, of their hypertensive medications.
The latest guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine and American Diabetes Association recommend that RT be included as part of a well balanced exercise program that also includes aerobic exercise and stretching. The frequency of the RT should be three times per week if possible.
RT is often thought to be lifting barbells or dumbbells or using "the machines", but these are just two methods of doing RT. Stretch cords will provide resistance when stretched and are used often in exercise classes. If you have used stretch cords before and found that the resistance provided by the cords became too easy after a while and seemed of little benefit after a while, all you need to do is go to a cord that provides greater resistance or use two cords instead of one. Properly used, stretch cords should work for just about anybody, even those with plenty of muscles.
Another option is getting in a pool, lake or other large body of water (the bath tube does not count), and using the resistance that the water provides to strengthen your muscles. Keep in mind that the slower you move a body part through the water, the less the resistance, whereas the more rapidly you move through the water the greater the resistance.
The most important thing to remember here is that if you have high blood pressure that you make sure it is under good control before you begin doing RT. Secondly, select a type of resistance training that works best for you.
Milt Bedingfield is a certified diabetes educator and exercise physiologist. Milt has been teaching people with diabetes about the disease and how to care for it for the last 19 years.
Milt's other website can be found at: http ://www.MasteringType2Diabetes.com