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The Calf Raise and Blood Glucose Connection

Poor blood glucose control can have huge impacts on not only our metabolic health but also energy, hunger, cognition, skin and sleep. Glucose spikes are often seen after meals that are high in sugar and carbohydrates, and low in protein and fibre.

When we feel tired or haven’t sustained our energy through the right foods, our blood glucose significantly increases, and then shortly after will drop, negatively impacting our energy and hunger. What we want to do is sustain a consistent level of energy, this is done through having high-protein and fibre foods.

blood glucose spike

Calf raises might seem like a simple exercise, but did you know that they can also play a role in managing your blood glucose levels? Engaging in regular calf raises that contract the soleus muscle helps enhance insulin sensitivity, which in turn aids in better blood glucose regulation, especially after a meal.

Insulin sensitivity refers to the body's ability to effectively utilise insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells for energy. By performing calf raises, you stimulate muscle contractions that enhance insulin sensitivity, promoting efficient glucose uptake by muscle cells. Aim for 3 sets of calf raises, 12-15 repetitions each after your meals!

Did you know that the structure of the solus muscle makes it so it can withstand prolonged contractile activity without easily fatiguing?

Other Ways to Optimise Blood Glucose Levels

1. Stay Active: Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine is crucial for managing blood glucose levels. Try a 10-minute walk after your meals and make sure to engage in a mix of aerobic exercises (like brisk walking, jogging, or cycling) and resistance training (like calf raises) throughout the week to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose utilisation.

2. Balanced Diet: Opt for a diet rich in whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables. Avoid sugary and highly processed foods that can cause rapid spikes in blood glucose levels.

3. Eat your veggies first: Eating vegetables before your carbohydrates and starches, reduces big glucose spikes. This isn’t saying that carbohydrates are bad for you, but by saving them for last, we see a significant difference in the increase of blood glucose.

4. 1 tablespoon of vinegar or citrus before meals: Studies have shown that this small trick helps to reduce overall blood glucose levels after meals. Try mixing it in with a small glass of water to make it more palatable.

5. High protein and fibre breakfast: Eating a breakfast packed with fibre and protein, will sustain our energy throughout the day, preventing those mid-afternoon energy slumps and sugar cravings. Try some overnight oats with hemp seeds and blueberries, or an egg, spinach and salmon omelette.

6. Intermittent fasting: 16:8 method is my favourite. Fasting allows your body to repair itself instead of focusing on digesting food. Overall, it helps reduce inflammation associated with insulin resistance, metabolic health and blood glucose control.

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