This Week Is National Diabetes Week How Exercise Can Help

This week is National Diabetes Week – How Exercise can Help


Ms.Michelle Caines

Over 3.7 million people in the UK live with Diabetes – most of us will know somebody. A further 7 million people are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.


Diabetes and ExerciseDiabetes is one of the oldest known human diseases, its full name is Diabetes Mellitus which comes from the Greek words ‘Syphon’ and ‘Sugar’. Diabetes is a very common but life-long health condition. It is a permanent change in your internal chemistry, whereby you have too much glucose in your blood and the body cannot utilise it properly, because your pancreas does not produce any insulin, or not enough, to help glucose enter your body’s cells. Or, the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). Insulin is the hormone produced by the pancreas that allows glucose to enter the body’s cells, where it is used as fuel for energy so we can survive and live our normal daily lives. Glucose comes from digesting carbohydrate foods and is also produced by the liver. Carbohydrate comes from many different kinds of foods and drink, including starchy foods such as bread, potatoes, pasta and rice and fruit; some dairy products; sugar and other sweet foods. If you have diabetes, your body cannot make proper use of this glucose so it builds up in the blood and isn’t able to convert it to use as fuel and energy. There are 2 types of Diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes (IDDM) develops when the insulin producing cells in the body have been destroyed and the body is unable to produce any insulin at all. This can develop at any age but is more common before the age of 40, and more so in childhood. Type 2 Diabetes (NIDDM) develops when the body does not produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level, or when the body is unable to effectively use the insulin that is being produced. Symptoms of diabetes include thirst, dehydration, passing large quantities of urine, urinary tract infection, weight loss, tiredness and lethargy and blurred vision caused from dehydration in the lens of the eye. The severity of the symptoms can differ depending on the type of Diabetes you may have. Diabetes can be controlled by leading a healthy lifestyle, eating well and keeping physically active to maintain a healthy weight, prevent long-term diabetes related complications and improve blood sugar control. Physical activity counts as anything that will increase your heart rate a little and can include anything from a brisk walk to jumping on an exercise bike. Scientists claim that just 20 second spurts can improve insulin function. Aerobic Exercise – Brisk walking is an effective form of aerobic exercise that can be done outside or on a Treadmill

. Treadmills offer a variety of speeds and inclines that adjust to your needs and allow you to walk or jog anytime regardless of the weather outdoors. Diabetics with foot neuropathy (a complication of Diabetes) may prefer an indoor bike which can offer low impact exercise taking the pressure off the feet yet still allowing you to exercise aerobically.

Strength Training – Strength training is essential for diabetics and should be done a couple of times a week as a minimum. Strength training does not have to involve lots of expensive Gym Equipment

. A few light dumbbells or kettlebells of various weights or rubber resistance bands of various tension levels are effective and inexpensive ways to build and maintain lean muscle mass. Below is a short video on exercising for Diabetes from a UK based leading Diabetes resource.

There are of course some exercise precautions that people with diabetes must take, however, when done safely, exercise is a valuable aid to optimal health. For further information on living with and managing Diabetes or if you think you may have diabetes

Michelle Caines is the Marketing Coordinator at , one of the leading gym equipment suppliers in the UK.

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