Can Exercise Help Tame Type 2 Diabetes?
A recent Caring Right at Home poll asked readers about their top New Year's resolution. 36% named "increased exercise" as their goal. A new study offers even more incentive to stick to your fitness program. You will not only help your health, but you may also help control the nation's healthcare costs.
New guidelines on exercise for people with diabetes are likely to open some eyes. And following these guidelines may help prevent or manage diabetes, improve overall health, and boost quality of life. The recommendations were published recently in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine, who along with the American Diabetes Association issued the guidelines as a joint position statement.
While research has solidly established the importance of physical activity to health for all individuals, the new guidelines provide specific advice for those whose diabetes may limit vigorous exercise. The recommendations call for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise spread out at least three days during the week, with no more than two consecutive days between sessions of aerobic activity.
Strength training, too
Aerobic activity alone cannot give full benefit of exercise to diabetic individuals, say the experts. Recent research has shown that resistance exercise (strength training) is as important as—and perhaps even more important than—aerobic training in diabetes management. Sheri R. Colberg, Ph.D., who chaired the writing group, says that the latest studies have reinforced the additional benefit of combining aerobic and resistance training for people with diabetes.
No excuses: physicians should prescribe exercise
According to Colberg, “Many physicians appear unwilling or cautious about prescribing exercise to individuals with type 2 diabetes for a variety of reasons, such as excessive body weight or the presence of health-related complications. However, the majority of people with type 2 diabetes can exercise safely, as long as certain precautions are taken. The presence of diabetes complications should not be used as an excuse to avoid participation in physical activity.” Colberg urges that physical activity, as appropriate for age and physical condition, be a conscious part of every person’s health plan,.
High stakes, high yield
The benefits far exceed considerations of an individual’s health and quality of life, say Colberg and other experts. Predictions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050 are accompanied by estimates that diabetes and prediabetes in the U.S. will cost almost $500 billion a year by 2020. According to Colberg, “If current trends go unabated, we are in fact doomed to higher healthcare costs and drastically reduced quality and length of life due to diabetes-related complications such as heart disease and kidney failure. As individuals, as communities, and as part of a nation and world, we have to work collectively to stop diabetes before it stops us.”
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to stop diabetes and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. For more information, call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org.
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world, dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.
March 22 is Diabetes Alert Day. Visit the American Diabetes Association website to find out about screening events, and to access consumer information about preventing diabetes.
To find out how Right at Home can help you or your loved ones with diabetes, visit our special page on diabetes care.
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