Topic of the Week
May 15th, 2017
Diabetes and Exercise
Most people now realize that diabetes has, unfortunately, become a regular part of our culture. Even worse, it seems to be considered by many as an inevitable part of aging. But the real truth is that the most common type of diabetes (Type II) is directly related to poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Indeed, it has become the world’s most common disease (over 90 million people worldwide) as well as the most common—yet largely preventable—disease in the United States (over 20 million with another 1.5 million more diagnosed every year!). Type II diabetes was once called “adult onset diabetes” but can no longer be referred to in this way because many of the new “victims” are young children, pre-teens and teens. Although there is a genetic link to the disease, most of us can help prevent it with some simple steps—literally.
It should not be news by now that many careful and long-term studies have shown a strong link between physical activity and the onset of diabetes (at almost any age) as well as reduced rates of mortality due to cardiovascular disease in people with diabetes (people with diabetes have a higher rate of cardiovascular disease than those who do not have diabetes). But how does exercise relate to diabetes? The answer has to do with the fact that glucose—the main source of energy to our cells—is assimilated and regulated more completely through activity. As I have stated in this column, human beings were created to move and, therefore, movement is in our genetic code. When we stop moving, we start to die slowly. And even small increases in our level of exercise can begin to make an improvement in our health and the way our many interconnected body systems operate.
But beyond all that, we know that exercise improves glucose control in Type II diabetes and can even reduce the need for insulin (the hormone that helps control glucose use in the body) in Type I diabetes. Additionally, through associated weight loss or weight management that is common with regular exercise, blood pressure can be lowered, blood cholesterol levels can be reduced and, most importantly, insulin uptake is “normalized” or more easily controlled. The type of exercise that can be used can be nothing more challenging than a brisk 30-minute walk everyday (or even several “mini-walks” of about five or ten minutes throughout the day). Strength training is also a necessary and effective way to help the body control insulin uptake and, therefore, control glucose (blood sugar).
In a related way, and quite obviously, eating a more natural diet that is low in saturated fats and added sugar will help keep those extra pounds from accumulating as well as preventing the bloodstream from being inundated with high levels of glucose. Keep in mind that the average American consumes about 400 calories PER DAY of refined sugar and sweets (that’s more than our caveman ancestors ate in a lifetime). These mostly empty calories do little for our nutritional needs and only add to the addition of body fat which, in turn, promotes the likelihood of diabetes. The choice (fixes?) are simple.
I’m Dr. Paul Kennedy and that’s the “Be Fit, Stay Fit” Topic of the Week. Good luck with YOUR program. I KNOW you can do it!
Originally published on September 02, 2017 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau