You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them. ~Michael Jordan
Diabetes is a global epedemic and one of the fastest growing diseases in America. Left unchecked, it will slowly kill and causes a host of issues on the way, including blindness, amputation of limbs, and heart disease. In 2006, one out of eight people in NYC alone had diabetes, and it is expected to grow at an epedemic rate. One out of three Americans born after 2000 are expected to be diabetic. Why is diabetes growing so quickly? Obesity and lack of exercise are some of the leading reasons. It's likely that you or someone you care about is/will be diagnosed with diabetes. The good thing is that a healthy lifestyle and being mindful about diet and exercise can help manage, cure (Type II only) or prevent diabetes. Dr. Edward Tsai of Las Vegas, NV (who happens to be my brother) says that losing weight, exercise, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can cure 95% of Type II diabetes. How much exercise is needed? 150 minutes a week (according to SparkPeople).
Diabetics have high blood sugar. There are traditionally two different kinds - Type I and Type II. Type I used to be known as juvenile diabetes since it is commonly diagnosed in children and young adults. In this case, the body does not produce insulin. This type of diabetes is genetic and not curable, but can can be optimally managed through insulin, diet, and exercise. Type II used to be thought of as adult diabetes where the body doesn't produce enough insulin or has stopped responding to it. However, there is more and more crossover as children are becoming diagnosed with Type II and Type I is being diagnosed later.
Are you diabetic or do you care about someone with diabetes? Are you pre-diabetic? You know that diet is important. As is exercise. Recent published studies suggest that at least 150 minutes a week, or 20 minutes a day reduces blood sugar for Type II diabetics. The best exercise is a combination of both aerobic and weight-lifting. If you feel you can't manage it, it can be broken up in to 10 minute segments, and moderate exercise works if you can't get in vigorous exercise. If you are not currently diabetic, making sure that you are mindful of getting your exercise and what you eat can help prevent it.
What to do - Exercise to Help Manage Diabetes
- If you or someone you know has diabetes, make sure you are under the care of a doctor and understand what your regimen should be in terms of medication, diet, and exercise.
- Follow your doctor's orders and watch your diet carefully.
- Schedule daily exercise. If you are encouraging a diabetic, exercise with him or her. Move! Get at least 150 minutes a week, and make it a mix of aerobic and weight-lifting. Here's a post on Mindful Exercise.
Want to learn more?
- Diabetes overview: American Diabetic Association, Mayo Clinic, New York Times Health Guide
- Exercise on Diabetes: aerobic and weight-lifting is best (NYT)
- NYT article on Diabetes Epedemic
- SparkPeople has a resource center/community on diabletes