| November is Diabetes Awareness Month! In honor of that, this blog will focus on all things diabetes and the most affordable way you can work on prevention and management of diabetes: EXERCISE! (It’s free!)
If you have type 2 diabetes, staying physically active is one of the best things you can do in terms of management and prevention of complications. For the 86 million Americans who are prediabetic, exercise can help to delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
| How do Type 2 Diabetes and Prediabetes Compare?
First off, type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects either how the body produces or effectively uses insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for moving glucose (sugar) from the blood to the muscles for energy.
Over 29 million people in the United States have diabetes and 90-95% of these people are type 2 diabetics. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin properly—this is known as insulin resistance. With insulin resistance, muscle cells do not respond to insulin normally, so your pancreas produces more and more insulin to keep your blood glucose levels normal. Eventually, your pancreas cannot keep up with this overproduction and your blood glucose level (blood sugar) begins to rise. Over time, this can lead to heart disease, nerve damage, and even kidney and eye problems.
Prediabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. Without weight loss and physical activity, 15-30% of those with prediabetes develop into type 2 diabetes within five years. The causes of type 2 diabetes vary, but the major triggers are diet, inactivity, and obesity– more specifically excess visceral (abdominal) fat.
| How Exercise Helps to Control Blood Glucose:
Any type of physical activity can help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes, but studies show that combining aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, biking, dancing, etc.) with resistance training (bands, dumbbells, bodyweight, etc.) produces the greatest benefit. Aerobic exercise helps the muscles use more glucose, and resistance training builds more muscle, which in turn leads to more glucose absorption and lowers blood glucose.
| Exercise Guidelines and Precautions:
| It’s never too late to start exercising!
Begin where you are with your fitness level and incorporate some movement today to help prevent or manage diabetes.