Insulin Resistance: What it is and how to combat it
A large focus of my undergraduate studies was on insulin resistance. Why? For a book of reasons that we’ll touch on. More and more Americans (and people throughout the world) are becoming insulin resistant at an increasing rate. It has become very common.
What exactly is insulin resistance?
Essentially, your body is not able to utilize insulin effectively which leads to increased insulin needs and glucose eventually building up in the blood. Insulin resistance is what leads to type 2 diabetes. But guess what, people with type 1 can be, and often are, insulin resistant as well. This is commonly referred to as “double diabetes”. As you’ll notice, this article is for everyone, not just people with diabetes.
How do we become more insulin sensitive?
Exercise is arguably the best way to improve insulin sensitivity.
To follow that, here’s one of my favorite quotes:
“If exercise could be packaged in a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.” -Robert Butler, National Institute on Aging
Physical activity improves insulin sensitivity for about 24-48 hours. It can also help reduce your risk for micro(neuropathy, retinopathy, etc) and macro(coronary artery disease, stroke, etc) complications, manage your blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and improve mood. There are so many benefits and a world with people that exercised regularly would be much healthier…..and happier(just saying). I get it, life is tiring and busy. I’ve personally fallen off my exercise program before too. What happened? I felt more tired, stressed, was less productive, spent less time in a normal glucose range, put on weight, and my overall mood declined. Additionally, I doubled the amount of insulin I typically use.
One of the most common barriers to exercise is a perceived lack of time which leads me to share another quote:
“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby (1826-93), British statesman.
With that being said…
Here are some recommendations for increasing your daily physical activity and spending less time being sedentary:
Do short bursts of exercise when you can.
Use a standing desk, exercise desk bike, under desk pedals, desk portable treadmills.
Always take the stairs.
Park far away.
Hide your TV remote.
Walk around during phone calls.
Exercise in the morning so nothing can get in the way.
For assistance with increasing physical activity or exercise programming, give our office a call. I can work closely with you. Exercise is medicine and we should think of it as something necessary for our survival.
Kathryn Gentile is a clinical exercise physiology student from Lancaster, PA who is pursuing her Master’s degree and also working towards becoming a Certified Diabetes Educator. Additionally, she is an ACSM-CEP(clinical exercise physiologist), Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified Sports Nutritionist.