Week 2: Sweat it Out
Even a little exercise can go a long way at first. Push yourself harder over time.
Get Your Heart Rate Up
Aim to reach 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate (the number 220 minus your age) for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. For example, if your maximum heart rate is 170 beats per minute, you'd want to strive for 85 to 145. Exercise impacts your blood sugar in two ways: Physical activity boosts levels of GLUT4, a protein that helps insulin do its job. And when your muscles need extra fuel, they absorb more glucose from the bloodstream.
In a study of nearly 14,000 subjects, researchers found that each 10 percent increase in muscle mass correlated to a 23 percent drop in prediabetes. Just a few minutes of strength training every other day can make a difference. If you don't have time for weights or push-ups and planks, just skip the elevator: Climbing stairs targets some of the largest muscles in your body—the glutes and thighs.
Add diabetes prevention to the ancient art's long list of health perks. Studies show that yoga increases the rate at which glucose moves from the blood into our cells. It also reduces levels of stress hormones, which can cause an accumulation of abdominal fat and interfere with the secretion of insulin.