Health Post – The Best Exercise Programs for Diabetes

With the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes on the increase it is worth explaining again the importance of doing regular exercise if you are Diabetic or that you are showing signs of Pre-Diabetes. And if people think that this condition is for the obese – think again! When I was doing Cardiac Risk Profiling for a government department in New Zealand I found just as many people who were within healthy weight parameters as those who were overweight or obese. Also some medical practitioners say that children as low as the age of 8 are showing early signs of the condition.

Now I call this a condition rather than a disease because the major causes are the highly processed foods we eat and the sedentary lifestyle we lead in modern societies. So it should be no surprise that the prevalence of this condition is very low in societies that eat natural foods and are generally active throughout their normal days…

The reason that exercise is necessary for both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics is for three basic factors – 

  1. To regulate low blood sugar levels
  2. To restore the sensitivity of the tissues within the body to insulin 
  3. Exercise burns fat

The best type of exercise to do is isotonic exercise as compared with isometric exercise. Isotonic exercise involves large movements where isometric exercises involve static contraction of muscles. So Circuits that have a wide range of movements are best. There are resistance programs that use exercises where the large muscles come into play – such as The Strength Set – containing exercises like Squats, Bench Press and Deadlift – but these exercises have a high isometric component. It is better to do the exercises such as the one in the photo above (whole body movements and low isometric component). 

And resistance programs are better for Diabetics than the highly aerobic exercises such as running and biking because there are rest periods within resistance programs and it is quicker and easier to control the situation if the blood sugar levels get low.

So the exercise program should be – 

  • Done regularly (3 – 4 times a week) and includes regular incidental movement throughout the day
  • It should be done outside if possible 
  • If a Diabetic is taking insulin for blood sugar control it is best done in late afternoon (4 – 5pm)
  • It is safer to have some sugar or sugar sweat handy if you break out in a cold sweet because your blood sugar is too low

Of course regular exercise regulates blood sugar levels as I said above (but just wanted to drive that point home) so is part of keeping healthy for a Diabetic.

As far as food goes you should keep away from processed foods and strictly control the amount and type of fruits you eat. And if you decide that it is worth the effort to get rid of Type 2 Diabetes altogether you could try staying on a strict fresh vegetable-based diet for about 12 – 16 weeks because it has been proven to work. After that then your diet should consist mostly of the same foods. (See the ideas in the picture below). And these foods also help prevent Diabetes.

As always, your life your choices…

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