Make exercise a social activity, perform a ‘Talking Test' to check if the intensity is right for you
RAK Hospital educates Diabetes Challenge 2022 participants on Exercise Protocols during the ‘Diabeat' Webinar series
A typical office worker with a desk job walks less than a Kilometer in a day when the minimum requirement is at least 5-7 Kms
Stamina, strength and flexibility should be the components of the exercise regime for diabetics
Muscles are essential in the management of diabetes; lower muscle mass can hinder our capacity to clear glucose from the bloodstream
Muscle capacity is lost by 1% every year after age 20.
25, October 2022, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: Exercise is a crucial tool in the management of diabetes and has been shown to reverse the condition in many instances. In their latest ‘Diabeat' webinar on ‘Exercise and Diabetes' organized as part of the RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022 informative series, Professor Adrian Kennedy, Chief Wellness Officer at RAK Hospital highlighted the importance of exercise, its effect on insulin levels, including various aspects of exercise formats, and the impact of physical activity on the body.
At the webinar, Prof. Kennedy said, “Exercise is the magic pill for almost all ailments as it helps control weight, lower blood pressure, lower harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, raise healthy HDL cholesterol, strengthen muscles and bones, reduce anxiety, and improve your general well-being. There are added benefits for people with diabetes as exercise lowers blood glucose levels and boosts your body's sensitivity to insulin, countering insulin resistance.”
Talking specifically about the benefits of exercise for Diabetics, Prof Kennedy described the functioning of insulin in diabetes and said, “Insulin is utilized for the conversion of sugar in the cells into energy since this is not optimally functional in diabetes and the energy is not being utilized, then the residual sugar stays in the bloodstream and also remains as a consequence within the organs of the body. This impacts the functions of the organs such as the liver, kidney, eyes, nerves, etc. leading to dysfunction and problems. However, when we exercise it uses the energy in the cells of the body, burns sugar and benefits the diabetic person. In a nutshell, exercise helps manage prediabetes and type 2 diabetes by lowering blood glucose levels and improving insulin sensitivity throughout the body.”
Elaborating on how strengthening muscles can impact diabetes, Prof Kennedy stated that exercise reverses muscular debility which is the strength and flexibility of the muscles. After the age of 20, we start losing our muscular capacity by 1% per year, which means by the age of 60 one would have reduced the functional capacity by 40% however this phenomenon can be reversed with exercise. Furthermore, we must not underrate the significance of muscles in the management of blood sugar. After we eat, 70 to 80 per cent of the glucose in the body goes to muscles so having a lower muscle mass can hinder our capacity to clear glucose from the bloodstream. Therefore, muscle strengthening can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the ageing process
Dr. Raza Siddiqui, Executive Director, RAK Hospital said, “ It's great to see so many people taking charge of their health and coming forward to attend our educative webinar series, which tackles diabetes from various aspects including medication management, diet, exercise, stress management, yoga and several other holistic methods. I congratulate the team on successfully conducting these sessions.”
Talking about the exercise protocols for Diabetics, Prof Kennedy recommended including stamina, strength and flexibility in the schedule. Moreover, moderation and consistency are key when exercising. He also advised making exercise a social activity and performing a talking test to see if you can continue talking without much difficulty when exercising. If that happens it ensures that one is within their endurance limits for exercise. Anything, more than that is not advisable.
Also, seeking a doctor's approval before starting an exercise regime is extremely essential, especially for diabetics on medication, to manage hypoglycaemia. Prof Kennedy further explained that checking blood sugar levels before, during and after exercise is also vital for beginners. If the level before exercise is below 100 mg/dL, eating a piece of fruit or having a small snack will boost it and help you avoid hypoglycemia. In any case, if you feel weak, giddy, or disoriented then immediately stop exercising and have a snack. Testing again 30 minutes later, or at the end of the session will show whether your blood sugar level is stable. Doctors also caution against exercising if your blood sugar is too high (over 250).
He concluded by saying that exercise is therapeutic and should be done by people of all ages. Yoga, tai-chi, swimming, and walking are all great forms of exercise and should be part of the regime. Currently, a typical office worker with a desk job walks less than a kilometre in a day whereas one requires a minimum of 5 to 7 km, 10,000 steps or 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise to have the benefits and to maintain a healthy body. Physical activities such as household work are good, but not sufficient and should be supplemented by an exercise program of at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week to help the insulin in your body work better.