In the past 30 years, prediabetes (elevated fasting or post-meal blood sugar below the levels required for diagnosis of type 2 diabetes) has grown into a major epidemic affecting nearly one in three adults. Previous studies have shown that combining aerobic exercise and diet can restore normal glucose levels in these individuals. However, the effects of resistance exercise – an important alternative to aerobic exercise – on post-meal blood sugar concentrations has not been investigated. This study reviewed how one hour of resistance exercise performed before meal consumption alters post-meal blood sugar concentrations, as well as how those changes occur in middle-aged, obese men with prediabetes. They found that resistance exercise mitigates the incremental increase in blood sugar after meal consumption. The change was due to:
- An increase in insulin sensitivity (a hormone that promotes glucose uptake in tissues to clear glucose from circulation); and
- Reduction in how quickly glucose enters circulation after the meal
The study results suggest that resistance exercise could be an important treatment option for obese men with prediabetes, especially for those who have difficulty with aerobic exercise.