How To Overcome Insulin Resistance With Exercise

Insulin is a peptide hormone produced in the pancreas. Its job is to promote the absorption of glucose, or “blood sugar” in order to manage the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and protein. The glucose is absorbed from the blood into liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells. From there, the glucose is turned into glycogen or fats, or in the liver, into both. If a person has insulin resistance, this important process is thwarted, and we cannot absorb and use glucose. This leads to a build up of glucose, leading to prediabetes. Prediabetes is what happens when glucose levels are higher than normal, but not so high that it qualifies as diabetes. Insulin resistance can be overcome with exercise. Here’s how. 

Source: Wikipedia

High-Intensity Interval Training

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a form of exercise in which brief periods of intense anaerobic exercise alternate with short recovery periods, until you are exhausted.  The intense exercises occur at maximum or near-maximum effort, while the recovery periods are characterised by rest or periods of low activity. HIIT can be done twice or thrice a week, for a total of 20 to 25 minutes per session.

HIIT is important because intensity is a vital component of any efforts to fight metabolic disorders. During HIIT’s intense exercises rely on type 2 muscle fibres. The intensity of the exercise promotes glucose absorption, and therefore, leads to a decline in glucose levels. This occurs regardless of whether there is any insulin. So, even people with Type 1 diabetes can use HIIT.

Walk, Walk, Walk

Premier Primary Care Medicine believes that movement is essential for managing insulin levels. Many people live sedentary lives, and this is a huge risk for their health, regardless of whether or not they have insulin resistance. Spending hours and hours on a chair is terrible for promoting insulin sensitivity. A sedentary lifestyle leads to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and a higher mortality rate.

Walking is a good, low level exercise that you can do every day. Aim for about 10,000 steps a day. You can use this tool to figure out how many miles that translates into based on your sex, height, and pace. You can start off with an easily manageable target, a target so small you can’t say no. Then slowly work your way up to 10,000 steps a day. You can spread out these steps across the day, to make it easier on you, or, you can do most of that walking in one block.

Build up Your Strength

Weight training promotes glucose absorption and insulin sensitivity. Insulin transports glucose from the blood into your muscles. Weight training, through the muscle contractions that take place, has a similar effect. Weight training also gives you a better lean body mass, faster metabolism, and a longer lifespan.


Sprinting is a great way to reduce the buildup of glycogen or carbohydrates in the muscles. It achieves many of the metabolic adaptations of endurance exercise, in much shorter time. The most important of these metabolic adaptations being an improved aerobic capability, healthier cells and a stronger immune system, and enhanced insulin sensitivity.