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Exercise and Diabetes: How Much and What Kind?

Diabetes

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Lately there's been a lot in the news about diabetes. Not only am I reading about the alarming rate of its growth – in the next 25 years, the number of Americans living with diabetes will nearly double – but its cost to the economy is staggering. Over the same period, spending on diabetes will almost triple from $113 billion to $336 billion. And that will happen even without any increase in the prevalence of obesity, researchers at the University of Chicago report.

The study's lead author, Elbert Huang, MD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, was quoted as saying, "If we don't change our diet and exercise habits or find new, more effective and less expensive ways to prevent and treat diabetes, we will find ourselves in a lot of trouble as a population."

Lifestyle goes a long way in combating or controlling diabetes – and one healthy item to embrace is exercise, which helps lower blood sugar levels. New recommendations are for people who have Type 2 diabetes to get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. If you don't have diabetes but are at high risk for getting it (family history and overweight are strong risk factors for type 2 diabetes), combining physical activity with modest weight loss can lower your risk of developing the disease by 58 percent.

Newest findings on the exercise-diabetes connection: use a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training. A new study finds that patients who performed aerobic exercise or resistance training alone did not yield the same improvement in glycemic levels as those who combined the two types of exercise.

The combination is thought to work the muscles in different ways, since muscles consume sugar and stronger muscles leave less sugar behind in the blood, which is advantageous to diabetics. Better yet, the risks for complications from diabetes, like cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, nerve and eye damage can be significantly reduced.

Healthywomen.org is filled with information on diabetes, including an overview of the disease, its most common symptoms, how to manage it and more. It's important reading for everyone, even if you don't have the disease - but especially if you do. I urge you to take a moment to read some really important health information by clicking through the following links:

12 Simple Ways to Fight Prediabetes

How To Maintain a Healthy Blood Sugar

When It's Time for Insulin: Understanding Your Options

How to Inject Insulin

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