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Never Skip Leg Day

Building and maintaining muscle mass improves insulin sensitivity and reduces the risk of diabetes.


All movement is good for metabolic health – zone 2 exercise (low intensity), high intensity interval training (HIIT), etc., but strength training/exercise has some great benefits for metabolic health.  All strength training and muscle building is good for you.


Why is building muscle so good for metabolic health?  Muscles process a lot of glucose, and larger muscles process more glucose.  The largest muscles in your body are your quads (front upper part of your legs) and your butt (which extend and flex your legs).


While your muscles are processing glucose, the need for insulin to process glucose is reduced.  Less insulin equals better insulin sensitivity.  Better insulin sensitivity is the opposite of insulin resistance.  This is a very good thing.  From previous articles, you may remember that insulin resistance is the precursor to Type II diabetes.


How good is building muscle for metabolic health?


In a study of 3100 men, those who reported no strength training were 2.4 times as likely to be insulin resistant than men who do 1 to 2 hours of strength training per week.  That is amazing.


How to build muscle?


As usual, please consult a doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have any known health conditions.


Some people like going to the gym, some prefer to exercise at home.  If you start at home, you can get some dumbbells, resistance bands (good bands are less than $50) or you can use your own body weight by doing pushups, squats, stepping up and down a step. There are even some seated chair exercises that use weights and resistance bands. Look up body weight strength exercises on the internet (especially ones for those large muscle groups).  Start slowly and build from there. 


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