There are many ways to know if you are at risk of diabetes. For example, if the disease runs in your family, chances are you are susceptible to it as well. The same goes for when you notice more fat deposits in your abdominal area. If you suffer from chronic high blood pressure, your condition can also increase your risk of developing diabetes. These are just a few of the common factors linked to the onset of the illness.
If any of those factors apply to you, you must read the guide to diabetes prevention and control so you can arrive at informed decisions regarding your lifestyle. Yes, a lifestyle change is necessary.
First, you must adhere to healthy eating—enough of bingeing on food, especially those high on carbohydrates and bad cholesterol, which wreak havoc on how your body metabolizes glucose and manages insulin. Plus, it would be best if you stayed active.
Committing to an exercise regimen will help you prevent the onset or if you’re already diagnosed, at least curb the symptoms of diabetes. Here are six facts on how exercise can protect you from the disease if you need more convincing.
1. Exercise gets rid of surplus glucose
High blood sugar levels mean there’s an accumulation of surplus glucose in your bloodstream. That surplus does not go anywhere since your muscles and organs do not need them. Exercise can solve that problem easily.
The moment you engage in physical activity, your muscles and organs go into overdrive. They will require extra energy. That leads to the usage of that excess glucose in your bloodstream. As a result, your blood sugar level drops. That is why experts suggest that people who chronically suffer from high blood sugar levels walk after meals. Whether you’re diabetic or prediabetic, add the routine to your list of healthy habits.
2. Exercise reduces visceral fat
The accumulated fat in your abdominal area is called visceral fat. It releases chemicals and compounds that put your metabolic processes in disarray. It’s one of the most notorious culprits for insulin resistance, which results in type 2 diabetes.
Through resistance training, your body can slowly dissolve visceral fat. That increases your body’s capacity to use insulin properly.
3. Exercise aids in weight loss
Management of blood sugar levels benefits from weight loss. Your A1C test results will stabilize if you shed off at least 5% of your body weight. Here exercise comes in handy.
Although what you eat carries more weight when it comes to losing weight, it doesn’t hurt to factor exercise into the equation. A proper diet paired with regular exercise is the best recipe for losing those surplus pounds. That’s because, as you may already know, physical activities burn calories.
4. Exercise builds metabolism-boosting muscles
This is probably one of the least known facts about exercise and its role in diabetes prevention or management. So please pay attention. Put simply, the more muscles you have, the better it is for your bloodstreams’ glucose level. That’s because muscles use up between 70% and 80% of your body’s glucose. Lesser muscle mass means more glucose gets stranded in your bloodstream.
You build muscle with exercise. And if you keep at it as you age, you get to retain the essential muscle mass needed for glucose control. Plus, your body maintains more insulin receptors.
5. Exercise keeps diabetes-related health complications at bay
With regular exercise, your body benefits from compounds released by the muscles. These compounds improve your circulatory and cardiovascular health.
Improved circulatory processes mean you will be less susceptible to nerve damage. Your joint health gets a boost as well.
Moreover, your heart stays in tiptop shape because it gets sufficient oxygen. You can stop worrying about the possibility of a heart attack or stroke.
Lastly, exercise lowers inflammation, which is responsible for organ and cognitive decline, among other diabetes-related health complications.
6. Exercise improves your mood
When you exercise, your brain releases happy hormones such as endorphins. These chemicals keep the blues away. That means you will be less inclined to feel sluggish, therefore, inactive. And you won’t feel the need to binge eat to temper whatever emotional or psychological distress you’re going through. Exercise saves you from weight gain triggered by depression.
Diabetes is a debilitating illness that you can approach in two ways. One is prevention, and the other is careful management. Both require you to exercise regularly for the sake of boosting your metabolic processes. Remember that diabetes is a disease caused by your body’s inability to use glucose and insulin properly. Diabetes also develops with your body’s inability to produce insulin. Either way, a sedentary lifestyle can exacerbate your condition.
Try not to treat exercise like a task. Make exercise fun again even if you are exercising from home. Every time you complete your chosen regimen, reward yourself with a little something. A glass of wine, perhaps? After all, wine helps prevent diabetes—of course, so long as it’s consumed in moderation.
About the Author
Jolina D. Santos, MD
Dr. Jolina began her journey as a health care professional when she took her medical degree in one of the most prestigious med schools in the Philippines.
With a solid foundation, the Thomasian took her residency training in internal medicine at Capitol Medical Center. Deciding her calling was to help treat people suffering from diabetes, she took her clinical fellowship at the Institute for Studies on Diabetes Foundation, Inc (ISDFI). To further her studies, she proceeded to take her Master of Science in Diabetology at UERM-ISDFI and is currently completing her thesis. Apart from serving as a consultant for the For Your Sweetheart website, Dr. Jolina is a visiting faculty at the ISDFI and is currently practicing in Quezon City.