“Diabetes is essentially a self-management disease in which patients must learn to integrate blood glucose monitoring with nutrition management and physical activity and, if needed, oral agents or insulin. This almost always requires behavior change. The American Diabetes Association diet is no longer a meaningful prescription, because recommendations are now based on individualized nutrition assessment and treatment goals. Physical activity recommendations, as an adjunct to nutrition management, should also be individualized.”
Let’s talk about the physical activity part of diabetic self-management.
Did you know?
Medical Care Research Unit, University of Sheffield, England, calculated cost effectiveness of exercise program for people with diabetes.
Providing twice-weekly exercise classes for 10,000 participants would cost approximately 854,700 pounds per year, but would prevent 76 deaths and 230 hospitalizations, avoiding annual health care costs of approximately 601,000 pounds. — Journal of Public Health Medicine.
There are now more cases of diabetes worldwide than decades before, despite the development of effective drugs and improved diagnoses and screening. This disease is one of the major causes of disability and death being surpassed only by cancer and heart disease, and as is currently believed, these three are related.
It is well known that sedentary lifestyle is one of major risk factors of developing diabetes. To the contrary, physical activity has been shown in clinical studies to protect against the development of diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity, which in turn lowers blood glucose and lipid levels.
Benefits of exercise
Exercise training improves many metabolic abnormalities that are associated with diabetes by lowering body fat and reducing blood pressure. Clearly, regular physical activity plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
Well-controlled diabetes is not an obstacle for endurance training, which is the most efficient training for weight and abdominal fat control.
In a study conducted by the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland, diabetic patients were engaged in a regular exercise program over a period of three months involving endurance sports such as biking, long-distance running or hiking. Subjects were instructed to exercise at least 135 minutes per week.
During the three-month training period, physical fitness as assessed by VO2max (maximal oxygen consumption) and resting heart rate, increased significantly. Insulin sensitivity increased and blood glucose decreased, subsequently improving “good” cholesterol numbers and total cholesterol readings.
Tags: diabetes, exercise, insulin