Exercise is beneficial for everyone. But people with diabetes will benefit from exercise even more if it includes enough of a challenge. Researchers found that exercise improved the health of people with type 2 diabetes. Researchers studied sedentary patients with type 2 diabetes, 63% of them were women with an average age of 56. The patients had an average blood test score of 7.7% for hemoglobin A1C. Six percent and under is considered normal for hemoglobin A1C.
In the study one group of patients did aerobic exercise by walking at a moderate pace for two and a half hours per week. A second group did resistance training. The resistance training included a full body routine three times a week. A third group combined the aerobic workout and resistance training on a shortened version. The total time of the workouts was the same for all three groups. A fourth group did no exercises.
In nine months the three exercise groups showed an improvement in several areas. The improvement was the greatest in the combination aerobic/resistance training group. The combination exercise groups were the only ones that lowered the amount of diabetes medication they needed, lost weight and showed significant improvement in hemoglobin A1C levels. They also lost the most body fat.
Statistical data shows that one in nine people in the United States has diabetes. Data shows that the number people with diabetes will increase in the near future to one in five people. This increase with be due in part by an ageing population, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and an increase in the population of minority groups that are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
To stimulate muscle fibers to affect your blood sugar levels, a demand must be placed on the muscle. Resistance training does this. Calisthenics is a form of resistance training but lifting weights or using workout machines does a more effective job. I recommend using a combination of free weights (dumbbells and barbells) and machines. Using free weights during some exercises will give you more control over the range of motion you go through. Because machines can’t possibly fit every body shape they don’t provide a full range of motion with every exercise. People who don’t have access to resistance training equipment can improvise with sandbags, plastic bottles filled with water or even canned goods.
If you’re a beginner, have someone who knows what they’re doing take you through your first few workouts. Lifting weights can be dangerous if you don’t do the exercises correctly. Always concentrate on what you’re doing. Being careless and taking your movements for granted can cause injury. Concentrating on each repetition when you work out will also recruit more muscle fibers to do work making each repetition more efficient.
A complete workout should include exercises for each body part. This will include the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, biceps, forearm, thighs, calves and your abdominals (midsection). Start with two to three different exercises for each body part. Gradually work up to 8-12 repetitions for each exercise. Do each exercise one to three times to start. If you can do more than 12 repetitions for a set, the weight is too light. If you can’t do at least eight repetitions for a set the weight is too heavy.
Aerobic training works the heart, lungs, circulatory system and helps burn body fat. The word “aerobic” means “with oxygen.” Oxygen is used to produce energy during aerobic activities. To do this the body has to be in continuous motion for more than 15 minutes. Aerobic exercise will help increase cardiovascular endurance by working the heart, lungs and circulatory system. Vigorous walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, cross country skiing, skipping rope, stair climbing, step aerobics and aerobic dance can be used for aerobic conditioning.
Doing aerobic exercises for up to 20 minutes will work the heart, lungs and circulatory system. But you don’t start to burn body fat until you’re about 20-25 minutes into the workout. To burn significant amounts of body fat you should perform between 45 and 60 minutes of aerobic. If you’re not already working out it may take you several weeks to a few months to reach this goal. You should start with 5 to 20 minutes of aerobic activity at a moderate pace. As your body becomes stronger you want to increase your time and intensity (effort level) gradually.
Don’t spot train your body. Overdevelopment of strength and muscle tone in one body part will have an adverse effect on another body part. Work your whole body. Work with a professional that understands diabetes to develop a good exercise program that includes both aerobics and resistance exercises.