An Insight into Diabetes and Exercise

Are you wondering about diabetes and exercise?  With uncontrolled blood sugar levels, many people are worried about exercising too little or two much.  Let’s talk about why this is the case and what you can do about it.

Diabetes mellitus is a condition that occurs when a person's body does not secrete enough insulin. Diabetes may also occur due to the improper use of insulin in the body. In a diabetic, high levels of glucose build up in the blood instead of moving into the cells. There are two major types of diabetes: 

Type I, where the body does not produce any insulin

• Type II where the cells ignore the secreted insulin.

Diabetes and Exercise  

Diabetes is significantly improved with exercise.  Exercise helps a diabetic in many ways, such as managing weight and maintaining blood glucose levels. Insulin resistance is one of the big contributors to type 2 diabetes, and one of the best ways to reverse insulin resistance is thru regular exercise.  Regular exercise, high intensity strength building exercise and interval training are all wonderful.  It is important to consult your physician before starting any exercise routine. 

Even though we all know that diabetes is significantly improved with exercise, it is necessary to learn the exact type of exercise that will be helpful in controlling YOUR blood glucose levels. The right exercises for you will greatly depends on your health and how far your diabetes has progressed.  Let me give you the standard disclosure before continuing …  Please be sure to check with your doctor before initiating any exercise routine.

Aerobic Exercises 

Aerobic exercise is wonderful for slowing and even reversing the symptoms of diabetes.  This is mainly because aerobic exercise involves deep breathing and at the same time makes the heart work harder. Jogging, sprinting, cycling, walking, and aerobic dance come under this category of exercise. Most doctors feel that diabetes and exercise are directly linked in that inactivity contributes to the development of diabetes. When choosing the best aerobic exercise it is important to consider the type of movements you enjoy doing.  If you like dancing, go for aerobics, Jazzercise or Zumba.  Enjoy sightseeing? Try bicycling or walking.  Like to get your exercise over with quick?  Try high intensity aerobic training (sprints) as recommended by Mark Sisson.  He is an ultramarathoner that discovered he was over-exercising (probably the biggest understatement I’ve ever made ) and has adopted high intensity interval training.  We like this form of aerobic exercise because we are super busy so like how time and physically effective it is.  The basic principal is that you bring your heart rate up to a certain level for 30 seconds before stopping and resting until your heart rate returns to normal.  Ten intervals every few days are all you need to do to seriously improve your aerobic health.  You can read about it more in his book The Primal Blueprint . Walking is the simplest form of exercise.  It can be performed by almost anyone and it requires very little in the way of equipment and money. Aerobic exercises help in increasing insulin sensitivity by using up glucose stored in the cells of the body.

Strength Training

Strength training is important for combating diabetes because it aids helps to increase lean muscle mass and helps to increase glucose uptake by the muscles.  It does this by depleting the glucose that is stored in the muscle tissue (it is used for energy to contract the muscle) which in turn increases insulin sensitivity.   Our favorite book about strength training is Body by Science <insert amazon affiliate link>.  We like it because it lays our a simple, short yet very effective muscle building routine that is extremely effective, only needs to be performed every 10 days or so and only takes 20 minutes to complete!  We now personally know over 20 people, ranging in age 23 to 87 who have followed the routine and had outstanding results.  As Arrington puts it, “It is the perfect routine for people who hate to go to the gym, but know they should 

Say “No” to Meds and “Yes” to Exercise

Many people feel that diabetes mellitus can be managed only with medication. This is definitely a wrong notion. For a diabetic patient to feel good and lead a healthy life free from complications, exercise is vital part of the puzzle.

Exercising can greatly help in reducing the risk of long-term complications from diabetes. To derive the maximum benefit from exercising, warming up and cooling down is vital. Before starting your routine exercises spend five minutes warming up to get your blood circulating and loosen stiff muscles. Walking is one of the best warm-ups. Then start with your routine exercises. Once you are finished with exercising, remember to cool down with some simple stretches. 

One Last Tip

Try to make exercise fun.  Children routinely have great workouts.  …and they call it playing.  They even like to go on play dates.  So pick forms of exercise that you like, or at least feel are effective and try to approach your workouts with the same delight you see in children on the playground.  

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