As I expressed last week, I’m not a big fan of grand, sweeping New Year’s resolutions that you can’t keep up past the first week in February. I’d rather see you make small, sensible changes that you can sustain all year long. Such as going for a short walk a few times a week after dinner.
This kind of moderate activity benefits your health in many ways. And it’s especially important if you suffer with blood sugar problems.
In fact, a new analysis of an older study just found that moderate exercise helps lower hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), the long-term measure of blood sugar control in men and women with Type II diabetes.
Let’s jump right in…
Moderate weekly exercise benefits blood sugar
About 10 years ago, researchers wrapped up a major study called the DARE Trial. It involved about 250 middle-aged men and women with Type II diabetes.
At the study’s outset, the participants had a median HbA1c of 7.7 percent…which is higher than the ideal target set by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). (The ADA recommends that all people with Type II diabetes aim to achieve an HbA1c level below 7 percent. Although, as I’ve reported before, older adults may benefit from maintaining moderately higher levels.)
The DARE Trial researchers randomly divided the participants into three groups. The first group participated in three 60-minute “aerobic” exercise sessions per week. The second group participated in three 60-minute “resistance” exercise sessions per week. And the third “combo” group participated in three 60-minute sessions per week that combined “aerobic” and “resistance” exercises.
As the names suggest, “aerobic” exercise primarily improves cardiovascular and respiratory health by getting the heart pumping, whereas “resistance” exercise primarily improves muscle strength. The “combo” group engaged in both types of exercise. And almost 90 percent of the people in the study adhered to their assigned regimen.
Overall, the DARE researchers found that people in the “aerobic” and “resistance” groups both reduced their HbA1c levels after six months. However, the “combo” group experienced the greatest reductions.
In the new 2020 analysis of the DARE Trial, researchers dug a little further into the data and found a clear “dose–response” association in the “aerobic” and “combo” exercise groups…but not in the “resistance” group.
Specifically, in the “aerobic” and “combo” groups, for each 20 percent improvement in adherence (i.e. two additional sessions per week), there was an 0.15 percent reduction in HbA1c.
In the end, the findings from both the original study and the new analysis strongly support my long-standing advice to engage in a variety of exercises throughout the week that work your heart and your muscles—such as yardwork, gardening, housework, and swimming. However, be sure to avoid activities like “pumping iron” in a dirty, dank gym or long, grueling marathons.
Both sets of findings also support my recommendation to engage in just 140 to 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Remember, in this study, the people lowered their HbA1c by completing 60 minutes of exercise just three times a week. But that number amount included warm-up and cool-down periods too.
Four more sensible tips for controlling blood sugar
In addition to engaging in some enjoyable, moderate physical activity, here are a few other pieces of advice if you struggle with blood sugar problems:
- Talk to your doctor about your HbA1c levels.Make sure your doctor monitors your HbA1c levels carefully, especially if you experience bouts of dizziness or low blood sugar. If you’re being treated to manage blood sugar, your primary care physician will typically want to see you every four months or so to monitor your levels.
- Follow a balanced diet.People with and without Type II diabetes should follow the same balanced, Mediterranean-type diet that includesgrass-fed and -finished meat, fresh fish and seafood, full-fat dairy (like milk, eggs, cheese, and yogurt), nuts, fruits and vegetables, and alcohol (in moderation).
- Supplement wisely.Modern science shows that many natural supplements help reduce blood sugar and manage Type II diabetes. In fact, two years ago, I told you about a potent compound derived from an ancient, golden spice that improves the body’s response to sugar even better than prescription drugs!
- Do your homework.There are a multitude of drug-free strategies available to manage your diabetes. And many are just a matter of making simple modifications to your lifestyle.So, it’s up to you to put in the research. The more knowledge you have about alternative options available to you, the more improved your quality of life will be while managing Type II diabetes.
You can also find step-by-step guidance on all of these natural approaches for preventing and reversing Type II diabetes in my online learning protocol, the Integrative Protocol for Defeating Diabetes. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now.
P.S. Tune back in tomorrow for my full report on the disturbing complication caused by a new class of Type II diabetes drugs.
“Significant Dose-Response between Exercise Adherence and Hemoglobin A1c Change.” Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2020 Sep;52(9):1960-1965. doi.org/ 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002339.