If you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t respond to insulin the way it should. Therefore, you might see glucose spikes throughout the day or maintain higher-than-average glucose levels (via the American Diabetes Association). Strength training can actually work to lower blood sugar, allowing people with type 2 diabetes to see more even glucose levels.
As exercise psychologist Nick Occhipinti explains to Everyday Health, “As we go through a strength-training workout, we use stored muscle glycogen for fuel. Once this stored muscle glycogen runs out, we start to mobilize extra glycogen from the liver and from the blood. This helps to directly decrease blood glucose as well as deplete stored muscle and liver glycogen stores, giving blood glucose a place to go next time we eat.”
This phenomenon could also help people with prediabetes, a condition characterized by higher-than-average blood sugar that doesn’t quite meet the guidelines for diabetes, but could eventually lead to it. According to UCLA Health, strength training can help the muscles take in glucose more efficiently, with research noting that exercising one hour before eating can yield the best results.