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The Prediabetes Nutritionist

Midlife Women with Prediabetes

Moderate Cardio, Strength-training Better for Midlife Women with Prediabetes (Here’s Why)

Regular exercise has numerous health benefits for people with prediabetes, especially during midlife when hormonal changes can occur. Exercise can improve insulin sensitivity, decrease blood pressure, improve cholesterol profile, and support weight management.

The American Diabetes Association recommends that adults exercise at least 150 minutes weekly, including high and low-intensity cardio and strength-training exercises.

However, hormonal changes during midlife can make frequent high-impact exercises counterproductive, especially for women, because they can increase inflammation and cortisol levels. Here are five reasons to prioritise moderate-intensity cardio and strength-training exercises:

  1. Gentle on your joints: Low-impact exercises are gentler, reducing the risk of injury and minimising wear and tear. This is particularly important during midlife when estrogen levels drop and bones weaken.
  2. Minimise hormonal fluctuations: High-intensity cardio can raise cortisol levels, disrupting hormonal balance, especially during midlife when hormone fluctuations occur. Moderate-intensity exercise can help manage stress and cortisol levels more effectively.
  3. Preserve muscle mass: Strength training helps preserve muscle mass, which naturally declines with age. Maintaining muscle mass is essential for supporting metabolism, blood glucose control, bone health, and overall functional independence as women enter midlife and beyond.
  4. Strengthen bones: Strength-training exercises are beneficial for maintaining and improving bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, which become more prevalent concerns in midlife and beyond.
  5. More sustainable: Low-intensity cardio and strength-training exercises are often more sustainable long-term. They can be enjoyable, less taxing on the body, and easier to incorporate into daily routines, increasing the likelihood of adherence and consistency over time.

Low-intensity cardio exercises include walking, cycling, swimming, and yoga, and strength-training exercises include weightlifting, resistance band workouts, and bodyweight exercises or callisthenics.

While high-intensity cardio is still essential to a well-rounded fitness routine, prioritising low-intensity cardio and strength training during midlife can offer numerous benefits for blood glucose control, overall metabolic health, and well-being. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any exercise program, especially if you have prediabetes or other medical conditions.

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