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Take Action: Exercise Can Help Manage Your Type 2 Diabetes or Prediabetes

01-02-2020

One of every 3 American adults has prediabetes—that’s about 84 million people. But the alarming thing is, 90 percent don’t know they have prediabetes, leaving them at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes or other serious health conditions. Additionally, 1 of every 10 Americans has diabetes—that’s more than 30 million people. And most of them (90-95 percent of these 30 million people) have type 2 diabetes which means their bodies don’t use insulin properly.

But the most encouraging news concerning prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is, unlike many health conditions, you’re in the driver’s seat because diabetes is managed mostly by you.

How do you manage diabetes? It can be challenging, but the three main components that directly affect your diabetes are:

  • Healthy eating
  • Physical activity
  • Insulin or other medications prescribed by your doctor to help control your blood sugar

A fourth factor includes support. Who can provide support and help you manage your diabetes? You may need a support team, including any or all of the following:

  • Your primary care provider
  • Additional doctors including your dentist, eye doctor, foot doctor, etc.
  • Your spouse, family members, and close friends
  • A diabetes educator
  • A registered dietitian or nutritionist

And now there is a new form of support available to the greater Frederick County community: Frederick Health ProMotion Fitness, which offers your very own “exercise prescription” tailored to your needs.

Exercise is a key component to managing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, when you’re active, your cells become more sensitive to insulin so it works more effectively.

The word “exercise” might be scary to some people, but medical experts encourage all prediabetic or type 2 diabetic patients to begin physical activity wherever you are. Within days, you will likely feel healthier!

Here are some simple ways to begin incorporating fitness into your daily schedule:

  • Take a light walk.
  • Better yet, take a light walk with a loved one, a friend, or neighbor.
  • Park a little further away from your workplace (or the grocery store) to incorporate more walking into your day.
  • Take the stairs instead of elevators.
  • Put on music and dance around your kitchen while you’re preparing dinner.
  • Play outdoors with your children or grandchildren.
  • Gardening, or doing the laundry, counts as physical activity.

Once you have incorporated regular activity into your daily routine, you’ll begin to build up your endurance to at least 150 minutes per week of activities that are moderate to vigorous in intensity. That translates to 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

Moderate-intensity exercise includes:

  • Brisk walking
  • Light cycling
  • Dancing
  • Water exercise

Vigorous exercise includes:

  • Jogging/running
  • Playing tennis
  • Hiking, especially if hills are involved

All of these activities will help your body store and use glucose more efficiently—but there are countless additional benefits such as improved heart health, mental health, reduced stress, and even having fun.

If you have prediabetes, lifestyle changes such as exercise can lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition to being prediabetic, if you are also overweight, then exercise can be even more significant for your health. Losing a small amount of weight—5 to 7 percent of your body weight, 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person—can make a big impact on your health.

Need help getting started? Frederick Health ProMotion Fitness provides a safe and supportive environment designed to partner with you in reaching your exercise goals. Utilizing the global Exercise is Medicine initiative, Frederick Health ProMotion Fitness works with you and your healthcare provider to develop an exercise prescription tailored to your individual needs. We even offer free “Living Well with Diabetes” workshops. Call 240-215-1470 if you are interested in starting the program, want to schedule a tour, or need more information.

Here are some additional resources available to you: