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What is Progressive Resistance Exercise for Diabetes Reversal?

Progressive Resistance Exercise (PRE) is a method of increasing the ability of one’s muscles to generate force by gradually increasing the weight, frequency, or number of repetitions in the strength training routine, thus making your musculoskeletal system stronger. Due to peripheral neuropathy and reduced vascular supply, glycaemic control in Type 2 Diabetes is compromised leading to muscle weakness, decreased muscle mass, and changes in skeletal muscle fibres. 

How does Progressive Resistance Exercise help in managing Diabetes?

The Skeletal muscle is a large reservoir for Glucose Disposal in our body.  in Type 2 Diabetes, due to Peripheral Neuropathy and reduced vascular supply, Glycaemic Control is often compromised leading to muscle weakness, decreased muscle mass, and changes in skeletal muscle fibres. 

Diabetes is often seen in individuals who are overweight and having abdominal obesity (belly fat). This causes a decline in glucose uptake due to impaired glycogen synthesis, thus needing an additional goal of weight loss and belly fat reduction for individuals having a BMI of 23 kg/m2 or higher.

Since Progressive Resistance Exercise has a direct effect on Skeletal Muscle, it is a powerful way to stimulate the Glucose Transporter Protein and Glucose Uptake. Resistance Training can combat Metabolic Dysfunction, Improve Glycaemic Control, Eliminate Metabolic Risk Factors and even reduce dependency on Medications.

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Can anyone Practice Progressive Resistance Exercises?

Resistance Training has been demonstrated as being safe and efficacious for the elderly and obese individuals, by diminishing elevated blood glucose levels into the normal range thus helping improve insulin sensitivity, daily energy expenditure and quality of life.

Able-bodied individuals with impaired glucose tolerance and mild uncomplicated diabetes, can be given interventions of all levels, and personalized to include leisure activities, recreational sports, cycling, swimming and other activities you prefer and most importantly enjoy doing.

Individuals with limited or difficult mobility can be given very low-intensity actions like free hand exercises, chair surya namaskars and generally encouraged to be physically active rather than sedentary.

The Sugarfit Approach to Progressive Fitness

Progressive Fitness Interventions

The Sugar.Fit approach believes that creating a safe and enjoyable exercise program is as if not more important than the exercise itself. By identifying areas of concern, a comprehensive fitness plan was designed to minimize risks specific to the user and ensure safe participation consistent with the participant’s desires and goals. 

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends moderate-intensity exercises for at least 150 mins or 2-½ hours in a week. (Magkos F et al, 2008). In alignment with this, participants were given fitness plans aimed at burning belly fat. This comprised 5-6 mins of warm-up (arm/hip rotations or forward bends), 3-4 mins of cool-down (basic back, quad, neck stretches) and a main workout of brisk walks, stair exercises & yogasanas combined with strength training for 30 to 60 minutes.


A person with diabetes often tries several methods and a holistic approach to be able to achieve their goals of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Progressive resistance exercises could be one such way. Since they require high involvement from various muscle groups, these exercises use up a lot of sugar in the body as energy thus lowering the overall blood sugars in the blood. They also help to reduce fat. These exercises, however, need to be practiced with the help of a professional trainer so that you do not go too far. Engaging in gradual progression will help in building the muscles properly. Also know about reversing type 2 diabetes.


1. What is an example of progressive resistance exercise? 

Progressive resistance exercises help strengthen the muscles with the help of certain exercises against resistance – eventually making the muscles get stronger. These would be with the help of resistance bands, weights, weight machines, etc. Examples of these exercises would be deadlifts wherein you can increase the weight and the repetitions over a couple of days or weeks. 

2. How do you make a progressive workout? 

A workout can become more and more progressive with the help of increasing the number of repetitions. This will put more load and demand on the muscles making them stronger over time. The progressive increase in weight, reps, and the number of sets can also help in gradually increasing the muscle mass. 

3. Do you need progressive overload to build muscle?

Yes, unless your workout regime is progressive, your muscle growth will slowly reach a stage of a plateau. A decrease or stagnation in the load for an extended period can result in muscle atrophy – the muscles may lose the mass they gained, and there would be a significant loss in muscle size and overall strength. Consistent training with an increase in the weights can help to meet the goals in terms of muscle strength and size.

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This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.