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Sheri Colberg Part 3, What’s The Best Form Of Exercise For Diabetes Patients?

In part 3 of this Exclusive Interview, Sheri Colberg shares her primary recommended form of exercise in a discussion with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed.

Sheri Colberg, PhD, FACSM is Professor Emerita of Exercise Science at Old Dominion University in Virginia and a member of the Diabetes in Control Advisory Board.


Transcript of this video segment:

Steve Freed: Let’s be a little more specific when it comes to exercise. Diabetes and exercise, that’s what you’re known for. Is there a particular exercise for type ones, type twos? The average type 2 is overweight, has high cholesterol, hypertensive. Is there something we can say it’s the best exercise, cause we know that it’s something that they should do on a regular basis, whatever that may be. Is there one that sticks out – swimming, bicycling, walking, jogging, lifting weights? It gets a little bit confusing. But if there was one that I knew, this works the best, if I’m going to do it, what would that be?

Sheri Colberg: Well when people ask me that question, because I basically taught people to do cardio training, resistance training, balance training, flexibility training, and be more active all day — when I get, “What? I don’t have time for all that. Tell me one thing to do.”  — I always pick resistance training and the reason for that is simple. The place that we store most of the carbohydrate in our body is the skeletal muscle. And in order for our glucose metabolism to be effective we have to be able to store carbohydrates after we eat them. So if you have a smaller “glucose tank” which is this muscle glycogen storage tank, and it’s always full, you have nowhere to put carbs when you eat them. And it can elevate glucose or it gets turned to body fat. You know none of these are good consequences. So what we want to do is keep as much muscle as possible which we can only really do very effectively with heavier weight training. And we want to keep that muscle glycogen tank partway empty all the time, which we can do with any type of training. So if you are regularly walking around and doing some moderate activity during the day you’re using up some of the glycogen; if you’re doing resistance training at least two to three days per week, not consecutively, you’re able to maintain your muscle mass better and that gives you a bigger glucose storage tank.

And so I think that’s really the key; with aging we’re losing muscle mass or particularly losing those faster fibers that we’re not recruiting when we’re just walking and doing normal activity. So we need to recruit all the fibers; we can do that with some little bit heavier resistance training or you could do it with sprinting, but sprinting is not going to be for everybody.

Steve Freed: So for the average person who’s 60 years old, comes to the doctor’s office, if the doctor, rather than just saying increase your physical activity, says I want you to do some resistance training; can you do pushups, could you get some weights or what would you recommend that most people can do that a physician can ask their patient to do? Most likely they’ll do it because it’s not like doing 100 pushups, right?

Sheri Colberg: Well actually the easiest thing to do, and it’s very trendy right now is doing body weight resistance training. So using your own body weight as resistance, and you can do a variety of things. Regular pushups are kind of a hard place to start for most people. So you can do wall pushups, so you basically you’re pushing up off the wall; you think that doesn’t feel too bad, you can do five. Try doing 100 and they feel like oh my gosh, I’m working something doing that! You can do lunges, you can do squats or partial squats, you can do planking which is not a lot of fun. You can actually do abdominal curls where you’re sitting in a chair, so a lot of these are adaptable for people or may have some mobility issues, are a little unsteady on their feet or have neuropathy. A lot of these bodyweight activities you can actually do seated or easily at home without going anywhere.

Then you want to ramp it up a little bit. You can get some inexpensive resistance training bands – they used to use them for Pilates but you can buy them pretty much anywhere and they come in different colors so they’re different stretchiness to provide different amounts of resistance. You can use little hand weights or you can just use full water bottles, things you can find around the house, a five pound bag of flour, whatever you want to use. There are many different things that you can do without ever leaving the home. So gives you no reason to say you can’t do it because you can do it at home.

Steve Freed: I recommend take two bottles of Bud Light.

Sheri Colberg: [Laughs] Those 12 ounce curls! You’ve got to do a lot of those and then it’s eleven ounces and 10 ounces, then you’ve gotta get a new one….

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