Friday, May 07, 2010

Can Resistance Exercise Really Help Those With Type-2 Diabetes?

When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, his or her body would have problem making or using insulin. Insulin is required for moving glucose (blood sugar) into cells, where it is stored and later used for energy.

An estimated 24 million people in the Untied States have diabetes, with 90 percent of them are diagnosed as Type-2 diabetes, which typically develops after the age of 45. And, it could be the result of unhealthy lifestyle habits.

The glucose levels found in patients with Type-2 diabetes are high because of insulin resistance and relative insulin deficiency. Insulin resistance means that fat, liver, and muscle cells do not respond normally to insulin. As such, blood sugar does not get into cells to be stored for energy.

Once sugar fails to enter cells, abnormally high levels of sugar will accumulate in the blood stream. This will often trigger the pancreas to produce more and more insulin, but can never be enough to keep up with the body's demand.

Diabetes is already a chronic disease by itself. If it is not managed appropriately, it can surely place patients at a higher risk of developing other serious complications including heart disease, blood vessel disease, kidney failure, nerve diseases and even blindness and amputation of legs.

In September 2007, a paper published by Canadian researchers in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that Type-2 diabetics, who exercised regularly, could have better blood-sugar control, especially if they did aerobic exercises as well as lifted weights.

According to most doctors and health experts, exercise is another powerful way to reduce blood sugar, in addition to strict diet control and medication. In general, exercise would help diabetics reduce insulin resistance by allowing cells in the body to have a higher uptake of glucose in the blood stream. This certainly would improve blood sugar control.

Besides aerobic exercise, Type-2 diabetics are advised to perform resistance training at least 3 times a week. Resistance training is one that includes exercises conducted using weights, weight machines or elastic bands. Its purpose is to improve strength by slowly and progressively overloading the muscles over a series of exercise sessions.

Nevertheless, diabetics should be aware of some risks in overdoing exercise. The most common one is patients might experience low blood sugar after drastic exercise. As such, patients should have their blood sugar checked before and after performing their exercise.

Meanwhile, patients with diabetes over long period of time, or kidney, eye or feet complications from diabetes might encounter problems when exercising. So, it is better to consult a physician before starting to engage any training program.

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