Resistance bands to manage your insulin resistance

Biokineticist, Vishaan Makan, explains the benefits of using resistance bands in your exercise routine to manage your insulin resistance.

Looking to manage your diabetes? Improve your health and well-being? Maybe even lose a few kilos before summer? Do all this, through exercise

Exercise has proven to be an effective strategy to manage your diabetes. Colberg et al (2010) explains that regular participation in exercise improves blood glucose levels, prevents and delays the onset of Type 2 diabetes and maintains numerous cardiovascular improvements.

Research shows that many exercises are appropriate for the management and prevention of diabetes which can be done at home.

Biokineticists have found that walking, running, swimming, dancing and strength training are amongst the most effective and appropriate exercises to perform. We recommend daily participation of approximately 30 minutes of exercise at a prescribed intensity from your health professional.

Benefits of consistent exercise

  • Lowered risk of cardiovascular accidents (stroke or even death)
  • Improved blood glucose control
  • Improved utilisation of insulin
  • Improved blood pressure
  • Decreased risk of obesity
  • Improved levels of cholesterol
  • Improved quality of life

Strength and resistance training

While exercise can be performed in many ways and settings; strength and resistance training will be the primary area of focus. Strength training is known to be the most challenging and daunting amongst our population, due to its intensity and assumed adverse effects. Strength training is not limited to heavy weights and clanging dumbbells in the gym. In fact, there are multiple ways to employ strength training in your lifestyle and reap all the benefits. One highly effective and popular method is through resistance bands, which are affordable, easy to use and can be adapted to target the full body.

Resistance bands are flexible, elastic rubber hoops, which are extremely versatile and useful to target multiple outcomes, namely strength, endurance, balance, cardiovascular health and even weight loss. These are only some of the crucial aspects that exercise targets to better manage your diabetes.

Using resistance bands are simple and can be used to either make basic movements easier or even harder. These adaptations allow for an individual to get stronger and progress in their exercises, thus achieving greater benefits.

Ways to include resistance bands in your exercise routines

To add to their versatility, resistance bands come in varying resistance levels, to accommodate for all strengths and abilities. The varying resistances allow for beginners to utilise them and progress while still accommodating for those who are more advance.

These resistance bands are a well-known and popular items used by all biokineticists. They are known to produce the same results as the hard iron plates in your local gym. In addition to the strength gains, they assist in improving joint stability, thus reducing our risk of injury, in addition to assisting us in improving the quality of our exercises.

Your biokineticist will use these bands in a session to complete prescribed exercises, based on set goals, function and ability; several aspects as observed in your initial assessment.

Your initial biokinetics assessment will be individualised to you and will comprise of multiple tests to assess aspects of your physical function, namely strength, BMI, endurance, cardiovascular fitness, balance, gross motor skills, flexibility and various physiological screenings (blood pressure or glucose).

The impact of exercise on diabetes

As we know, diabetes needs to be well-managed to avoid detrimental incidents, such as hypoglycaemic or hyperglycaemic episodes, which could lead to further life-threatening states. Management of diabetes is prominently done through diet, however, exercise can have just as great of an effect.

Exercise directly affects the body and its blood glucose levels, through increasing insulin sensitivity and lowers fasting blood glucose levels for a 24-hour period, following exercise.

Research has shown that moderate exercise after your meals, will decrease the spike in blood glucose levels and allow for a more neutral reading, specifically in Type 2 diabetes. Hence, we emphasise the importance and necessity for regular physical activity, to reap these benefits and help yourself in managing your diabetes.

Daily is best

Exercise in any form should be performed daily to lead a balanced lifestyle and ensure improved management of diabetes and other illnesses or injuries.

Once again, we recommend you perform any of your favourite exercises for at least 30 minutes daily, to improve your strength, endurance and your quality of life. You should consult a biokineticist to facilitate and guide your exercises to ensure proper form and intensities, thus allow for maximal improvements and benefits.

Biokineticists are registered healthcare practitioners that treat injury and disease through individualised, evidence-based exercise prescription. They are specifically educated to prescribe and supervise exercise to individuals for the management and prevention of non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes. To find out more about biokinetics, or to find a biokineticist near you, visit

Article written by Vishaan Makan on behalf of Biokinetics Association of South Africa

Header image by Adobe Stock


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