Does Exercise Help Diabetes?
Your body is a highly complex machine, processing organic and non-organic molecules into energy and tissue for everyday function.
If, however, you suffer from any form of diabetes, the inner mechanics become compromised and don't operate as effectively. This is because of one missing link, insulin.
The hormone insulin is produced in the beta cells of the pancreas. It is responsible for managing blood glucose by transporting it into cells for energy and storage as glycogen.
When this hormone system is compromised, either because insulin is not being produced in adequate quantities, or it is rendered ineffective.
Once this happens on a chronic level, diabetes can occur.
What is Diabetes
Diabetes is classified as a metabolic syndrome. In other words, it’s a disease which the body’s metabolic function is compromised through an ineffective insulin pathway.
Insulin is a polypeptide hormone responsible for the metabolism of fats and sugars from dietary intake.
It is most notably responsible for turning glucose into glycogen, which is then stored in the muscle cells. Glucose is an important macronutrientespecially useful to the brain.
In the case of diabetes, it results from an inability to produce insulin in high enough amounts if at all, leading to deregulation of blood sugar levels.
It also results in the body’s insensitivity to insulin, even if it is adequately produced.
These two scenarios lead to the occurrence of diabetes in its two forms:
Type I diabetes, where little or no insulin is produced.
Type II diabetes where insulin is produced but is rendered ineffective due to insulin resistance.
Does Exercise Help Diabetes?.
Type I Diabetes
Type I diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes because of the fact that it is triggered at a young age in most cases.
Type II Diabetes
Type II diabetes is also referred to as mature-onset diabetes. That's because it usually comes about at a much older age due to the accumulative effect of poor health and lifestyle habits over many years.
While the cause of type II diabetes is well accounted for, due to its prevalence (over 90% of all diabetics), type I diabetes is a bit more of a mystery.
While all fingers point to a genetic disorder, the exact trigger is still being researched.
Whatever the cause and the circumstance, diabetes basically means you cant regulate or manage your blood glucose.
This causes it to rapidly accumulate, leading to hyperglycemia (excess blood glucose) and a slew of health complications
Today, the impact of diabetes is very real and measurable. More than 150,000 Americans die every year from diabetes-related conditions and complications. These conditions include:
- Heart disease
- kidney failure
With diabetes, the risk of heart disease can shoot up 2 – 4 times higher, while the risk of suffering a stroke goes up 2 – 6 times.
It is also a leading cause of blindness, with over 5,000 new reports of adult blindness each year.
Another disturbing fact is that diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic (not resulting from injury) amputation.
The Benefits of Exercise Towards Diabetes
Good physical activity can have a profoundly beneficial effect on the management of diabetes.
With a mindful approach and the right nutritional support, does exercise help diabetes, exercise doesn’t just offset the effects of diabetes, it can work as an effective treatment and prevent any associated complications.
If implemented correctly, exercise can prevent diabetes from taking place altogether.
Exercise can help with diabetes by:
- Lowering excess blood sugar levels through the transport and use of serum glucose by active cells. This improves the health of the musculoskeletal (muscles and skeleton) system as well as the heart and circulation.
- Reducing stress by providing a release of endorphins which leads to a reduction in cortisol levels.
- Promoting weight loss, which in itself is both a result and contributor to the diabetes effect.
The Best Workouts for Diabetes
Exercising is definitely great for diabetes, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. What's also important, is figuring out which exercises work, and how they should be implemented.
A diabetic exercise program should take into account, the unique circumstances of the individual’s condition. No two diabetic cases are the same.
Training should be mapped out based on the type of diabetes as well as the severity of it and any other complications.
These complications are known as the contraindications and are the things you should be cautious of.
Things such as heart health, neurological health, visual impairment, circulatory health should all be considered when working out as a diabetic.
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Training Principles for Diabetes
Does exercise help diabetes, there is still an ongoing debate as to how exercise and diabetes can really be made compatible as a treatment protocol, but with a mindful, evidence-based approach, the use of medical and fitness guidelines have come together to maximize benefits and minimize risk.
Some of these principles include:
- Diabetics should have a full medical examination done in order to determine their individual risk factors and contraindications before beginning a workout plan
- Diabetics must at all times be able to keep track of their blood sugar levels. pre-workout, intra-workout and post-workout monitoring is essential.
- Diabetic individuals must have all necessary treatment supplies, tools and medication on hand during training. They must make their trainer, training partner or facility personnel aware of their condition and its requirements
- In most cases, diabetics can do the same types of workouts as non-diabetic individuals. Only in cases where the contraindications are absolute and limiting, should exercises be heavily modified or avoided.
Exercise is good for everyone, even for those with any form of diabetes. In a lot of cases, exercise can prevent it.
The body is designed to move, and by doing so, it rewards you with health and a sense of wellbeing.
When it comes to diabetes however, a very mindful approach is necessary. The risk factors that come with it can easily make things worse if not managed correctly.
If you are diabetic, and want to start exercising, consult your doctor first.
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