Christine, you are certainly taking a step in the right direction. In a six-month study in 2002, researchers found that those who ate a healthy diet and followed a weight-training program had a three times greater decrease in average blood sugar levels than those who simply dieted. In addition, the exercisers lost moderate amounts of body fat. Muscles are a major clearance site for circulating blood sugar, so it is important for diabetics to build and maintain lean muscle mass. Furthermore, weight training promotes heart health, which is a major benefit because type-2 diabetes can double or quadruple the risk of heart disease.
Incorporating strength training with swimming is an ideal combination and will produce even greater results than either one alone. Exercising in water provides the body with joint support and buoyancy so that you can condition your heart and lungs without painful stress on your feet and legs. Alternating these two modes of physical activity is an excellent way for you to stay active for life.
Cindy Boggs, fitness consultant, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified coordinator/instructor since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311, or e-mail cindys...@aol.com. Look for Cindy's fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World," on her Web site, www.cindysays.com, or contact the YMCA at 340-3527.