How Exercise Helps People With Type 2 Diabetes

Uma Shankari By Uma Shankari, 31st Dec 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Alternative Medicine

Type two diabetes occurs when muscle cells cannot utilize insulin effectively, causing the blood sugar to rise above normal levels. Abnormal levels of glucose if left unchecked lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and nerve dysfunction. Even moderate exercise can boost insulin sensitivity.

How is Type 2 Diabetes Caused?

Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder brought on by our sedentary lifestyle. It occurs when the pancreas produces insulin, yet the muscle cells cannot utilize it effectively, causing the blood sugar to rise above the normal levels (between 90-130 mg/dl while fasting and less than 180 mg/dl after meals).

The cells in our bodies burn glucose from sugars and starches in the food to produce energy. The cells have insulin receptors, a place to which the insulin binds itself like a key and opens the cell to glucose. When you have type 2 diabetes, the body becomes insensitive to insulin and the cells cannot take glucose from the bloodstream. Excess glucose in the bloodstream is sent to the liver and finally stored as body fat. Fat cells release free fatty acids in the blood. One of the causes for insulin resistance is the presence of high amounts of triglyceride and LDL cholesterol in the blood, which interfere with glucose metabolism.

Abnormal levels of glucose building up unchecked in the blood for extended periods lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness and nerve dysfunction.

How exercise helps to keep diabetes in Check

* Following regular exercise training, cells respond better to insulin and are more effective in taking up glucose out of the blood. Exercise promotes muscular activity and burns sugar. Even half an hour of brisk walking result in the fall of blood glucose. You could take physical activities like gardening, cycling short distances or taking the staircase instead of the elevator.

While doing exercises, you may need to adjust insulin dose. If you exercise for longer duration, you need to take sugar or fruit juice, so as to prevent hypoglycemia. You should learn how to monitor your diabetes through regular blood tests. Do not exercise if your blood sugar is greater than 250 mg/dL. That could mean you already have a lack of insulin and exercise may cause a greater rise in your blood sugar.

* Exercise can also decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels and body fat. It can lower triglycerides and increase the good cholesterol HDL. The loss of weight following exercise boosts insulin sensitivity. You should avoid refined foods and eat foods with low glycemic index.

* Exercise prevents the onset of diabetes in people at risk of developing diabetes or those having borderline diabetes. Further it reduces the associated complications of diabetes, like neuropathy.

* Exercise lifts the mood and decreases the stress. So you feel more relaxed. This in turn can help you to lose weight, as stress creates cravings for food and induces weight gain.


Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome, Metabolism

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author avatar Uma Shankari
I write on society, relationships, travel, health, nutrition and fitness.
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author avatar Carol
2nd Jan 2011 (#)

This is very helpful, many thanks

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author avatar Tranquilpen
9th Apr 2011 (#)

Great read. Thank you

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