November is Diabetes Awareness Month in the United States and for good reason. According to the CDC, there are approximately 26 million people with diabetes in the United States and an additional 79 million with pre-diabetes. Additionally, North Carolina ranks in the top 10 states for diabetes with 10 percent of our resident having diabetes.
In my current role as wound center manager, I see firsthand how uncontrolled diabetes affects health. Fortunately, my favorite thing to write about — exercise — can help control diabetes. Exercise is very important in managing type 2 diabetes. Combining diet, exercise, and medicine — when prescribed — can help control your weight and blood sugar level. Here are the benefits of maintaining an exercise program when you have diabetes:
— Regulating blood sugar: Continuous, moderate exercise increases the amount of blood sugar needed to fuel the muscles. This can help maintain normal blood sugar levels.
— Decreasing body fat: High body fat levels decrease your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Insulin works more efficiently the leaner you are.
— Improving muscle strength: Stronger muscles will help your functionally with daily activity.
— Lowering blood pressure: Regular exercise can help lower blood pressure and protect against heart disease and stroke.
— Improving circulation: Diabetic patients often times have circulatory issues as well, which can lead to a visit to the wound center. Exercise helps maintain proper circulation to the lower body to prevent issues.
— Reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and releasing tension and anxiety: Living with diabetes or any chronic disease can be stressful. Exercise can help by making you feel better emotionally as well as physically. In addition, keeping your stress to a minimum can help decrease blood sugar levels.
While moderate regular exercise is great for a person with diabetes, there are some precautions. Intense exercise can have the opposite effect and actually temporarily increase your blood glucose levels right after you stop exercising. This is especially true for people with diabetes. The body recognizes intense exercise as a stress and releases stress hormones that tell your body to increase available blood sugar to fuel your muscles. If you have diabetes, you may need to check your sugar after exercise to see if this happens to you. Moderation is the key to help manage your diabetes through exercise. As always, before starting any exercise program, consult your doctor.
Kathy Hansen the program manager for Southeastern Wound Healing Center and has over 20 years of experience in the health and fitness field. She can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.