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Friday, February 19, 2010

Exercise and Diabetes

By: Alex Liska
I decided to write this post about exercise and how it can help those with diabetes because a good friend of mine is a diabetic and I'm hoping after she reads this she will incorporate exercise into her daily routine :)
For those of you that suffer from diabetes or have loved ones that suffer from this condition I hope that this post is informative and helpful!
***Exercise can help diabetics control their disease and also reduce complications associated with the disease***


Q- What causes diabetes?

A- There are 2 types of diabetes: Type I (insulin-dependent), occurs mostly in children and young adults. The exact cause of Type I is still unknown but what we do know is that the body either does not produce sufficient insulin or cannot properly utilize the insulin that it does produce.
Type II (non-insulin-dependent), typically tends to occur in adults over 40 who are overweight. This is not always the case but it is quite common. Type II is the most common out of the two and it accounts for approx. 90% of all sufferers of this chronic illness.
What happens with those that have diabetes is that their body cannot properly handle glucose and they suffer from elevated blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) which is a condition present when glucose levels in the blood build up and spill over into the urine/bloodstream.

Effects of Exercise on Diabetes:
  • Helps lower excess blood sugar levels
  • Helps transport glucose out of the bloodstream so that the body can use it for energy
  • Improves circulation
  • HELPS REDUCE STRESS !!! (A huge factor that leads to diabetes)
  • Helps reduce excess weight which can also contribute to developing the disease in the first place
Regular exercise is highly recommended to those suffering from diabetes. As long as they are not over-doing it, moderate exercise can provide great benefits! Taking it one day at a time, a program that incorporates flexibility, strength training and cardiovascular exercise is a good idea. Let's not forget that DIET IS CRUCIAL for those with diabetes. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND following a carb-reduced diet. Please refer to my posts on low-carb dieting and help yourself to the recipes in my archive for a guide on how to eat:)
Remember, the less starches/sugars being consumed the easier it is for your body to turn to stored fat for energy. Not only that, but you can prevent spiking your blood sugar levels by eating less refined carbs.

Here are some tips for those that have diabetes and would like to start working out:
  • When training with weights, focus on a low to moderate intensity level, 12-20 repetitions for 2-3 sets.
  • Perform cardiovascular exercise at 55-80% of Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) ***Note that MHR= 220 minus your age***
  • UNDERGO A COMPLETE MEDICAL EVALUATION BEFORE STARTING ANY GYM/WORKOUT PROGRAM (this is a standard safety procedure)
  • Monitor blood sugar levels before/during/after exercise
  • If possible, exercise with a partner/trainer that knows which signs and symptoms to check for hypoglycemia and knows how to treat it. It is recommended to always have a fast-acting carbohydrate (juice/candy/glucose tab) in case of a hypoglycemic emergency!!
I hope this post is convincing enough to those suffering from diabetes to engage in physical activity and for those that have loved ones that suffer form this condition to encourage them to start exercising!!!

Best of luck, Have a GREAT weekend!!!!!
XOXOX,
 
 -Alex L.

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