23 Thu

Fight Diabetes with Exercise

Fight Diabetes with Exercise

WRITTEN BY:  MICHELLE MILLNER, PT, DPT, OCS

 

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects approximately 25.8 million people in the United States.¹  Most people know it as a disease relating to sugar.  People who have diabetes must take medication (often insulin) to control their glucose (sugar that your body uses for fuel) levels.  Insulin is a chemical your body produces to make your cells absorb glucose.  If insulin isn’t present, your cells can’t absorb the glucose and therefore can’t feed themselves.  Essentially, diabetics can’t feed their cells without the presence of insulin.   But did you know that exercise acts like insulin?

Exercise, the act of moving your body, making each muscle fiber contract and relax, actually stimulates your cells to absorb glucose.   Exercise makes your cells more sensitive to insulin in your body which increases its efficiency and leads to your cells to use the right kind of fuel, which helps lower your glucose levels without having to take medication.  In other words, you can naturally manage high glucose levels without medication under the right conditions and circumstances.  The challenge for people with diabetes is knowing how to implement a safe exercise program without leading to hypoglycemia (low sugar levels), which is a serious medical condition.  Checking your glucose levels before and after exercise is imperative to ensure you stay within normal levels.²

Most people assume physical therapist only help individuals with orthopedic conditions.  While we specialize in helping people move better and we are orthopedically oriented, we are also trained in exercise and pathophysiology and understand the dynamics of exercising someone with a serious medical condition.

If you have concerns about starting an exercise program with a diagnosis of diabetes, consider discussing the exercise regime with your physiotherapist.  If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices our located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.

1. http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/estimates11.htm

2. http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/exercise-guidelines

 

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

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