Turn Back the Clock with Exercise
Good news for people with pre-diabetes: The
recently completed Diabetes Prevention Program study showed
conclusively that you can keep from developing type 2 diabetes by
changing your diet and increasing your level of physical activity. You may even be able to return your blood sugar (glucose) levels to the normal range.
Diet and exercise worked even better than some medications that can
delay the development of diabetes, according to the study. For the
exercise part of the study, participants did 30 minutes a day of
moderate exercise. That, combined with a 5-10% reduction in body
weight, added up to a 58% reduction in diabetes in people who took part.
Being physically active can lower your blood sugar and help insulin
work better. It also improves blood circulation, reduces the risk for
heart disease, relieves stress, and strengthens muscles and bones. And
you dont have to become a gym rat or play a sport to get its benefits.
Exercise is anything that gets you moving, including dancing, doing
yard work, and walking.
For physical fitness, we need three types of activity:
. This kind of exercise raises your heart rate and makes you breathe
harder. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week.
If you dont exercise regularly, start with 5 or 10 minutes a day and
add a few more minutes each week. Aerobic exercise includes:
– Walking briskly or jogging
– Swimming or taking a water aerobics class
– Playing tennis
– Biking, either on a stationary bike or outdoors
- Strength training
– Weight lifting in a class that uses free weights (not weight machines)
– Weight lifting using weight machines, at a YMCA or health club
– Weight lifting on your own, perhaps using a book or weight-training video
. This is exercise that builds stronger muscles and bones. As an
added bonus, having bigger muscles makes you burn more calories, even
when youre resting. Examples of strength training are:
. This increases your flexibility, which means youll be less likely
to injure yourself when you work out. Heres how to stretch the right
– Take a stretching class
– Learn to stretch properly using a video or book
– Ask your healthcare team what the best way is for you to stretch
If your current lifestyle is sedentary, talk to your healthcare
provider about a workout plan. Adding regular exercise to your life
will not only make you feel and look better, it may help you turn back
the clock to a time before you were diagnosed with pre-diabetes and
keep it there.