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Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes

Timeless Fitness Tip

For decades, exercise has been considered a cornerstone of diabetes management, along with diet and medication.

Two risk factors of diabetes are being overweight and having blood sugar that consistently tests above normal after fasting overnight. A group of at-risk people in a study by the National Institutes of Health lowered their chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 58-percent by walking an average of 30 minutes a day.

Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes Exercise not only helps manage weight but also makes cells more sensitive to insulin and adds muscle. Muscles help to control blood sugar in two ways: They absorb blood sugar to help lower it and also serve as a source of stored sugar. In fact, research shows that weight training plays a sizeable role in improving the body's response to insulin.

Note: Before beginning a program of physical activity more vigorous than brisk walking, people with diabetes should be assessed for conditions that might be associated with increased likelihood of CVD. Or, conditions that might contraindicate certain types of exercise or predispose to injury. These would include the following.

  • Severe autonomic neuropathy.
  • Severe peripheral neuropathy.
  • Preproliferative or proliferative retinopathy.

The patient's age and previous physical activity level should be considered.

Exercise vs. Eating

Happy Exercising Exercise should be an important part of any weight loss, and for that matter, healthy lifestyle plan. The benefits include mood improvement, chronic disease risk reduction, and healthier bones. When you exercise, you burn calories. If you burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight. That's why it's so important to consider nutrition as an important part of a balanced health and exercise plan.

Fat slows down the release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream. When large amounts of simple and refined carbohydrates are eaten alone, they shoot rapidly into the bloodstream, creating a large spike in blood sugar. When your blood sugar spikes, your pancreas releases a lot of insulin to bring blood sugar back down to normal. Moderate amounts of insulin are necessary (and anabolic). Large amounts or insulin are lipogenic (cause fat storage) and anti-lipolyic (prevent fat release).

You can have great willpower, but if you get hormonally induced hunger, you won't to be able to fight it. Whenever there's an unusually large blood sugar spike, it's a law of nature that there must be an equal or greater valley. This blood sugar valley, known as hypoglycemia, is the cause of intense, almost irresistible cravings that send you frantically to the nearest sweet treat.

See also: Physical Activity Controls Weight

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