2

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Exercise tips to lower insulin resistance?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 03, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Hello, I'm a 21 year old female with severe insulin resistance. I'm a "healthy" weight (5'1 and 108 lbs) but I have PCOS and acne, hair loss, excess hair, etc. My endocrinologist said that insulin stimulates the ovaries to secrete testosterone. My testosterone levels are in the "normal" range but I guess my body is sensitive to even low levels because I have pimples and a mustache :( I was eating a lot of junk food and the only exercise i was getting was walking around the house (maybe 100 steps a day). I didn't think I needed to exercise because I didn't need to lose weight. I guess I was wrong about that! My blood sugars were normal but my insulin levels were very high (31 IU, normal range is 5-13 IU , if i remember correctly). I have recently started walking 5.5 km an hour (3.5 miles an hour) six days a week. I do this in the mornings before I have breakfast at 7 am. I notice that if I exercise after breakfast, I get very tired and sleepy and I have to take a nap during the day.

I'm new to paleo, I've cut white rice out of my diet completely (this was really hard to do, because I'm asian, and my family still eats white rice everyday). I eat about 75g carbs a day (whereas before I was eating 300+ grams of carbs, whole tubs of ice creams, bags of cookies, entire pizzas, huge bowls of rice, etc ). I have a major sweet tooth and I love fruits so I think its going to be impossible for me to get below 50 g a day but I'm trying

I have a few questions about exercise ... What is the best type of exercise? Walking, running, swimming, aerobics, weights,etc? When is the best time of day to exercise? Any other helpful tips (about hair loss especially !)

Any advice would be greatly appreciated... Thank you thank you thank you :)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 03, 2012
at 04:08 PM

+1 for flattery.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 03, 2012
at 03:36 PM

Do you test your blood glucose regularly? When you said your "blood sugars were normal," is that based on one single test that was fasted? You might want to invest in a cheap meter to use at home (can buy 'em at most big chain drugstores these days) - and test yourself throughout the day, especially after meals (like at 60 mins, 90 mins, 2 hours) to see what's really going on with glucose handling in your body.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 03, 2012
at 03:34 PM

Agreed - the more muscle mass you have, the more insulin-sensitive glucose transporters (GLUT-4s) you'll present...at least in theory. What confuses me a little though, is that the OP says her *insulin* levels are high but her blood *glucose* is fine. So it's not that glucose isn't getting into the cells, it sounds like too much insulin is being secreted regardless. I dunno...I'd like to know more about post-prandial glucose spikes and *how long* they stay elevated. It's possible her *fasting* BG is fine, but might be all over the map other times of day.

B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on July 03, 2012
at 01:45 PM

It sounds like you have already made some of the most important changes! Good for you.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 03, 2012
at 01:24 PM

+1. Amy, to clarify: anything that increases insulin sensitivity means that your body does not have to secrete as much insulin to manage glucose (less insulin produced means less testosterone also, which for you is good).

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on July 03, 2012
at 12:32 PM

Useful, well source answer, thanks.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on July 03, 2012
at 11:45 AM

a combination of resistance and HIIT training is the fountain of youth.

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4 Answers

6
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 03, 2012
at 11:46 AM

Pretty much any kind of exercise/physcial activity will improve glucose disposal and insulin sensitivity. But as for what is best by test:

1) Walking. Study after study show improved insulin resistance when T2 diabetics are put on a walking program.

http://www.diabetesresearchclinicalpractice.com/article/S0168-8227(02)00129-8/abstract

2) Resistance training (aka strength training or lifting weights)

http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/11/2977.short

3) HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) - sprints are a good example.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/h35v1075268r5041/

I would follow the advice of Mark Sisson and walk daily 30+ minutes (an hour is even better). Start lifting once or twice per week. Start with bodyweight if you don't have gym access or equipment at home. Do sprints maybe once per week. For more details, head over to Mark's Daily Apple:

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-primal-blueprint/#axzz1zYiAVYq6

Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

(2934)

on July 03, 2012
at 12:32 PM

Useful, well source answer, thanks.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 03, 2012
at 01:24 PM

+1. Amy, to clarify: anything that increases insulin sensitivity means that your body does not have to secrete as much insulin to manage glucose (less insulin produced means less testosterone also, which for you is good).

4
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on July 03, 2012
at 09:33 AM

The best type of exercise to help with blood glucose management (and insulin secretion) is resistance training. Increasing the proportion of protein in your diet is also important.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on July 03, 2012
at 03:34 PM

Agreed - the more muscle mass you have, the more insulin-sensitive glucose transporters (GLUT-4s) you'll present...at least in theory. What confuses me a little though, is that the OP says her *insulin* levels are high but her blood *glucose* is fine. So it's not that glucose isn't getting into the cells, it sounds like too much insulin is being secreted regardless. I dunno...I'd like to know more about post-prandial glucose spikes and *how long* they stay elevated. It's possible her *fasting* BG is fine, but might be all over the map other times of day.

1
B6114a1980b1481fb18206064f3f4a4f

(3924)

on July 03, 2012
at 01:54 PM

I think Dave S's answer about types of exercise is perfect - no need to add to that. As far as when to exercise - I think whatever time is most convenient and enjoyable to you is the best time for a beginner. If walking before breakfast makes you feel good - then do that (it's also the safest time during the summer if you live in a hot climate and are walking outdoors). Whatever will help you stick with your walking program is the best time for you.

Also, I wanted to add you might not need to go any lower than 75g of carb a day if you keep up your walking program. Many of us do very well at 75 -100g (or more if heavy exercise). Also, many us follow a somewhat seasonal eating program where we consume more fruits and veggies (and thus carbs) in the summer when they are in season and are most nutritious and delicious. I personally can't see any reason to deprive yourself of a little fruit in the summer when it is so dang good. If adding resistance training and HIIT, and keeping with your current eating and walking program for a few months doesn't improve your insulin sensitivity enough, you have plenty of time to cut back the carbs this fall and winter to see how that works for you.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on July 03, 2012
at 04:08 PM

+1 for flattery.

0
Eed7dabde3d61910685845e04605267f

on July 03, 2012
at 09:49 AM

High intensity interval training is linked with increasing insulin sensitity, you may want to look into that...

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