Fitness Tips For Diabetics Part 2

As I mentioned in the previous article, diabetes is simply having elevated blood sugar which will cause elevated insulin levels. This can lead to a slew of other medical problems and complications. Alternatively, this can all be resolved through diet and exercise. The purpose here is determining what you should do exercise-wise. In the first part, we discussed resistance training so the purpose of this part is to go over the aerobic portion.

There are many different types of training – both aerobic (cardiovascular) and anaerobic (resistance). Many health professionals argue over which aerobic type is the best and there has been (and still being done) research to prove all sides. Essentially, there is steady state aerobic – getting to a certain heart rate range and maintaining that rate for the duration of the activity- and interval training- getting your heart rate up to a point for a minute or so and then allowing it to come back down for a minutes or so and repeating a few times for the workout. Playing sports would be a crude form of interval training because you are not constantly maintaining a heart rate but moving faster and slower and keeping your heart rate moving up and down. Advocates for either side, of course, claim their side is the best. Based on research, steady state burns more calories per session but your metabolism returns to normal shortly afterward. Interval training will burn less calories per session but will keep your metabolism burning extra calories slowly returning your metabolism to normal for as long as 48 hours after the end of the session. This is based on evidence from E.P.O.C. (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption- or the measure of calorie burn after exercise) but seems to only show an extra caloric deficit in the low double digits (not very significant) when you compare total calories burned for both.

After reading and learning a little more about aerobic exercise one can only wonder which is the best to do? In my opinion, looking at the health benefits-to-risks of either or nothing I would have to say either is better than nothing. Some may prefer one over the other and I think any health professional would say to stick with that program because you will be more likely to stay with something you enjoy and reap the benefits rather than doing something you don’t enjoy for a month and then quitting. The benefits of regular aerobic exercise would be more calories burned improving your body composition by lowering body fat. For diabetics, regular activity will lower and help regulate blood sugar levels, as well as preventing or improving heart disease. In conclusion, diabetics should try either program to see which they like then stay on that routine (or alternate routines for variety) until they achieve the results they want- reducing body fat, improving (or eliminating) their diabetic condition, improving their cardiovascular function and lowering their risk for developing other diseases. A good recommendation for aerobic exercise would be to start slow and work your way up. Gradual increases will go a long way and you won’t feel they’re as hard if its done at your own pace. Perhaps start with 20 minutes a session for 5-6 days a week. Always do a warm-up and a good cool-down so its safer on your heart and muscles working. As far as what type of activity- anything you enjoy. Make it fun and you’ll never dread the “ole workout”. Play a sport, walk outside, ride a bike, or just try a new class like yoga or Pilates. If you don’t know, seek out a health professional who can help you determine your intensity or heart rate so you don’t overdo it.

The bottom line here is this, if you’re diabetic and want to get proactive and do something before your own health starts to deteriorate, then get more active! Start with a good anaerobic and aerobic program and stick to it. If you’re unsure about anything, consult with a health professional who can help you get a specific plan in place. We’ll be discussing nutrition in another article but a good personal trainer can be a one-stop deal, helping you to establish a good exercise routine and nutrition plan. As with anything in health and fitness, though, always consult a doctor before beginning any type of routine. Best of luck and be healthy!

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