More than one in three American adults — about 88 million — have prediabetes (higher than normal blood sugar levels), and most are unaware they have the condition. It’s a condition that puts them at elevated risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
The good news is that you can lower high blood sugar by combining simple diet changes with exercise. In a large long-term study, people at risk for type 2 diabetes who lost just 7% of their body weight by eating fewer calories and exercising 2½ hours a week reduced their risk of developing the disease by 60%, according to National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Exercise is such an important part of the equation that the American Diabetes Association recommends that you don’t miss more than two days of aerobic exercise in a row. Let’s take a look at some of the best exercises to do to put type 2 diabetes in your rearview mirror.
But we’re not talking about a leisurely stroll around the block. To reap the benefits of any form of aerobic exercise, it has to be moderate to vigorous in intensity. So pick up the pace until it’s challenging to speak in full sentences.
A 2017 analysis of nine studies found that aquatic aerobics, aquatic jogging and swimming were just as effective as land-based exercises in lowering blood sugar levels.
A study published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that increasing muscle mass through moderate strength training helped reduce participants’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 32%.
Here are four muscle-building exercises to work into your fitness routine. Do three sets of each. Note: Avoid strength training workouts two days in a row.
Single Leg Plank
Assume a pushup position but with your weight on your forearms. Brace your abs, clench your glutes and keep your body straight from head to heel. Raise your right leg and hold it for 5 seconds. Then lower it and raise your left leg for 5 seconds. That’s one repetition. Do 10.
Bodyweight Split Jump
Place your hands on your hips and assume a staggered stance, left leg forward. Slowly lower your body as far as you can, and then jump with enough force to propel both feet off the floor. Switch legs in midair and land with your right leg forward. That’s one rep. Switch leg positions with each explosive jump. Do 12.
Get down on all fours, placing your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Straighten your arms and legs. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause
and push yourself back up. Do 8 to 12.
Holding a dumbbell vertically by one end at your chest and feet shoulderwidth apart, lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause, then return to the
starting position. Do 12.
Jeff Csatari is the author of The 14-Day No Sugar Diet.