Staying Healthy with Diabetes ? Physical Activity & Fitness
Staying Healthy with Diabetes Physical Activity & Fitness by Cathy Mullooly, MS, RCEP, CDE and the Staff of Joslin Diabetes Center
Buy Staying Healthy with Diabetes Physical Activity & Fitness from Joslin Diabetes Center.
Excerpted from Chapter 3: How Physical Activity Helps Manage Diabetes
Physical Activity Lowers Blood Glucose
Physical activity is beneficial for a person with diabetes because of its helpful effect on blood glucose levels. Physical activity lowers blood glucose levels by improving the bodys ability to use both glucose and insulin. It does this by activating cell glucose transporters that allow the entry of glucose into cells. Physical activity also helps reverse the resistance to insulin that is often a result of being inactive or overweight. People who take diabetes pills often find they need less medication as they perform regular physical activity. The same is true for people who take insulin; the dose may need to be adjusted to prevent low blood glucose.
-- Helps Control Weight And Tone Muscles
Physical activity helps control your weight and tone your muscles. Although physical activity without changes in eating habits rarely leads to weight loss, it is essential for maintaining weight loss. And people who engage in regular physical activity do not generally regain the weight that they lost. Also, physical activity during weight loss helps to ensure that the weight lost is fat and not lean body tissue such as muscle, or water weight, which often occurs from dieting alone.
-- Helps Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Regular physical activity also helps prevent type 2 diabetes. Accumulating 30 minutes of activity such as walking, biking, or swimming nearly every day of the week or a total of 150 minutes in a week has repeatedly been shown to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. If you know anyone who is at risk for diabetespeople who have a family history of diabetes, are overweight, or have problems with blood fats or blood pressure encourage them to make regular physical activity a high priority.
-- Helps Relieve Stress
Physical activity is also a means of dealing with lifes everyday stresses. It aids in relieving depression and building self-confidence. Teamed with a healthy eating plan, regular physical activity helps to boost energy levels, and helps you be more relaxed and feel less fatigued. The result is that you look better, feel better and have a strategy to keep your diabetes in better control.
See for Yourself: Measure the Effect of Physical Activity
As explained above, physical activity has two different effects on your blood glucose. The first effect is that it lowers blood glucose levels, sometimes within minutes. When you are physically active, your body uses blood glucose as fuel. The more you move, the more fuel your body needs. And the more fuel your body needs, the more blood glucose it uses. Try it yourself. The next time you are physically active for longer than 20 minutes, check to see what happens.
Blood Glucose: Before __________ After ____________
Most of the time, you will see a fall in your blood glucose number. Even if this does not happen, however, dont be discouraged. The second effect of being physically active comes after you are done with your activity. Now your body has to replace the supply of glucose you used for fuel that came from your muscle and liver. This replacement can take up to 48 hours. During this time your body uses your insulin better and your blood glucose level may stay a little lower. Over time, this ongoing effect can lower your A1C (an important test that evaluates your blood glucose control over the past 2-3 months), improve the way your diabetes medications work and result in lower blood glucose numbers on your meter.
Learn more in the following chapters: Weight Loss; First Steps to Fitness; Lows and Highs; The Exercise Prescription; Exercising When You Have Other Physical Problems; General Myths about Diabetes and Physical Activity.
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Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...