Control Diabetes with Exercise

The ideal time to learn to control diabetes is before you get it.

Except in the case of Type 1 diabetes, which is the bodys inability to produce enough insulin to self-regulate blood sugar levels and usually shows up at a young age, exercise can help reduce the odds of getting and the severity of this disease.

Is diabetes serious?

If left untreated or improperly managed, diabetes can result in a variety of complications, including:

* Heart disease
* Kidney disease
* Eye disease
* Problems with erection (impotence)
* Nerve damage

The first step in preventing or controlling diabetes is recognizing the risk factors, as well as signs and symptoms of diabetes
Many factors contribute to the onset of diabetes, including genetic predisposition and diet.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Glucose is the primary source of energy for the body's activities. Your body gets energy by making glucose from foods like bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, milk and fruit. To use this glucose, your body needs insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body control the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood. Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes.

One basic reason is the inability to produce the proper amount of insulin, a hormone that helps transport glucose to the cells. In Type I diabetes the body can't produce adequate insulin, so the shortfall has to be made up from the outside, usually via injection of insulin. This is the more serious type of diabetes that used to kill many until insulin was discovered and it was learned how to create it in a lab and administer it via the needle.

In Type II diabetes, individuals produce insulin, but it's less effective in performing its role as a transport aid. This is the type that is more likely to occur as we age. The kidneys become less efficient and we tend to adopt a more sedentary lifestyle. We sometimes worsen our odds by being more indulgent about food. The long term effects add up.

There is a theory that the modern diet, with an overabundance of sugary additives and refined carbs, causes the insulin and blood sugar levels to spike and drop continually. This results in highs and lows in energy and cravings for more sweets shortly after you already had some. It also results in exhaustion of the insulin supply system such that over time your body can't handle the demands and the glucose builds up in your blood instead of being used as energy. The good news is that you can control diabetes.

You can control diabetes, Type 2 that is, with diet and exercise and with careful self-monitoring under the care of a physician, the effects can be minimal.

The best way to control diabetes is with exercise. Exercise helps increase insulin sensitivity. It also reduces body fat, which helps regulate the amount of glucose needed and used. Weight training helps by increasing the metabolic rate, reducing body fat. At the same time, it increases the use of glucose used by muscles and improves the ability of muscle tissue to store it. All those help achieve the preferred glucose level and control diabetes.

Get professional advice and start any new program slowly, particularly if you have not been active habitually. Find a personal trainer and in conjunction with you doctor you can have a good fitness program designed just for your situation. Pain from doing too much too soon is one of the leading reasons that people quit a fitness program prematurely. Also, the body needs time to adjust to changes in hormone level, metabolic level and thus glucose and insulin levels.

Be sure to warm up for five to ten minutes at minimum. Easy stretches and low-impact, low heart rate exercise help get the muscles infused with blood and joints limber. Take care not to exercise when it is too hot. Heat stroke (from too high an internal temperature and lack of fluid) is a risk, and more so for those who are older.

Humidity levels are a factor to consider, as well. Your body's ability to regulate internal temperature is made less efficient when the moisture content of the air is high. The heat doesn't travel out of the sweat and off the skin so readily. On hot and/or humid days, wear loose fitting clothing and reduce the time and vigor of your routine.

Walking is a great way to get started to control diabetes. Try to walk on grass rather than concrete or asphalt, but with good shoes you do either. An hour per day every day is best, but even 20 minutes three or four days per week will help.

Persistence is key. Reducing the odds of getting it, or learning to control diabetes once you have it, requires permanent lifestyle changes. But the benefits are not only the absence of a debilitating disease, but a healthy body and improved mood.

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