Exercising Can Help Relieve Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes, Says an Expert

By Amy Taylor on May 15, 2012

A healthy diet coupled with exercise can be a great tool to fight Type 2 diabetes, said Greg Wells, a professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education and an associate scientist in Physiology and Exercise Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children.

Diabetes occurs when the level of sugar in the blood goes up and exceeds the normal. This condition is said to affect 2.8 million people in the UK, according to the NHS. Type II diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or the cells become resistant to insulin that they no longer absorb it. Type 2 diabetes is more common than the type 1, affecting 90% of adults who have diabetes.

A child who has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of 10 is likely to live 19 years less than a healthy person, said Prof Greg Wells. People who have this condition are also at risk of psychological disorders, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.

Prof Greg Wells conducted a study on how chronic diseases can cause exercise intolerance. For instance, people with obesity tend to develop problems with their muscle tissues which make it hard for them to exercise. At the same time, he studied how exercise can reverse the effects of chronic disease. Here are his findings:

Exercise and Diabetes

There are two physical components of physical activity as explained by Prof Wells. The first one is the so-called habitual exercise which refers to the usual routine that most of us do – gardening, household chores, walking, and so on. The more you move the better.

The second component is more intense as it involves a structured physical workout. While it is more challenging than the habitual forms of exercise, the second component is, as described by Prof Wells, is extremely effective.

There are so many forms of exercise and for him, the multi-faceted approach is good. When people combine several workout routines like strength training, aerobics, and cardiovascular exercises, they can get better results than sticking to only one workout routine. Prof Wells added that performing multiple routines will keep you going without feeling bored and exhausted.

Health Benefits of Exercising to Type 2 Diabetes

Prof Wells pointed out that physical exercise can actually reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes. It’s not a cure but it can provide temporary ease from the symptoms and health problems associated to it. For instance, undergoing physical exercise can lower down one’s level of insulin resistance by up to 72 hours. This would mean 72 hours relief from symptoms. For better results, the professor recommended having interval training which involves high-intensity workout as it promotes sugar processing in the muscles which is usually the problem in people with type 2 diabetes.

He recommended people to spare at least 6 hours of physical activity each week. While it appears to be a lot, this is one of the best ways to avoid and prevent the onset of chronic diseases and health problems. These 6 hours can be divided to several days and can include any habitual or high intensity workout.

Exercise and Nutrition

Prof Greg Wells explained that Type 2 diabetes and obesity are closely linked to each other. Basically, obese individuals are more at risk to developing diabetes than those who are not. It is a known fact that exercising can promote good health. But Prof Wells warned that it’s not physical exercise alone that is needed to help manage diabetes.  Patients should observe good nutrition too. Speaking of nutrition, the best approach according to him is avoiding high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. Proper selection of foods is important. For instance, between a soft drink and fruit juice, the latter is a much better choice.

Aside from diabetes, he also revealed that exercising can address pretty much everything from obesity to inflammatory diseases like ADHD, Alzheimer’s anxiety, anxiety, and depression.

 

Source of this article:

Can you exercise away your diabetes symptoms? News at University of Toronto

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