A Guest Entry: Benefits of Exercise in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

With this entry I want to try something new- a guest blogger.  I hope you like the article and the idea of having guest articles from time to time.  If you have comments, let me know or contact the guest blogger directly.  I should mention that the opinions in guest articles are not necessarily how I might think about things but I think it’s good to get different points of view.

What Everybody Ought to Know About the Benefits of being fit if You Have Diabetes: Effects of Exercise on Blood Glucose Levels

Written by Sue Rollins

Did you know that you can more easily manage your diabetes just by engaging in regular exercise?  Exercise generally has a very beneficial effect on blood  glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. When you engage in exercise, you expend a lot of energy.  This first comes from the glucose stored in your liver and your muscles.  At first, the body simply uses up the stored glucose (in the form of glycogen).   Thus, engaging in exercise does not mean your blood glucose levels will necessarily fall to dangerously low levels.   The situation is somewhat different in people with type 1 diabetes and in people with type 2 diabetes who take medications that can cause hypoglycemia.  Often these people need to take snacks at regular intervals during exercise to avoid hypoglycemia.  The body is very clever and has a number of mechanisms to prevent the blood glucose level from falling too low.  For example, with exercise and also if the blood glucose level drops below normal, glucagon, a hormone stored in the pancreas gets released.  This hormone promotes further release of glucose stored in the liver.  The same is true of the hormone epinephrine, stored in the adrenal cortex.  If one does enough exercise to use up most of the stored glucose, the body can make “new” glucose from the breakdown of proteins.  Also, breakdown of fats will occur, providing an alternative source of  energy, thereby “sparing” glucose stores.  In addition, regular exercise actually increases a person’s insulin sensitivity, making the insulin they produce (or take), more effective in controlling blood glucose levels.

Why is the effect of exercise on glucose levels important to those with type 2 diabetes?

Exercise indeed has a good effect on a patient’s glucose level. This is good news for people who have type 2 diabetes. A lot of research indicates that patients of diabetes gain more control over their diabetes as soon as they get into to a regular exercise program.  Since exercise improves your insulin sensitivity, you may need less medication in order to control the diabetes.

Should patients with type 2 diabetes exercise more often or differently than otherwise healthy people?

Experts recommend that people who have type 2 diabetes should exercise about 30-60 minutes (usually only moderate aerobic activity) at least 3 days a week.   Any amount of exercise is better than no exercise.

What type of exercise is best for patients with type 2 diabetes?

Most experts believe the frequency of the exercise routine is more important that the specific kind of exercise one engages in. Ideally, the exercise program will include aerobic activities and include some weight training.

When should patients be discouraged from exercising?

Some patients have a higher risk of developing injuries from the stress of an intense exercise program. Such patients include those with preexisting diabetes eye disease, hypertension and other cardiovascular risks.  Obviously, those who have been  leading sedentary lifestyles. need to take it slow and easy.  All patients should be thoroughly evaluated by their physicians before beginning a new exercise program.

About the Author – Su Rollins writes for <a
href=”http://www.hypoglycemicdiet.org”>reactive hypoglycemic diet</a> ,
her personal hobby blog focused on tips to prevent and cure hypoglycemia
using the right diet and nutrition.

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